Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Grand Jury Declines to Indict Dr. Anna Pou in Katrina Deaths

It's good to see reason prevail, at least once in a while -- From the Associated Press this afternoon:

"A grand jury Tuesday declined to indict Dr. Anna Pou, the surgeon accused of killing four seriously ill patients in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Pou and two nurses were arrested last summer after Attorney General Charles Foti's investigation concluded they gave four patients a "lethal cocktail" at Memorial Medical Center amid the chaotic conditions that followed the August 2005 storm.

Lawyers for the three said they acted heroically by staying to treat patients rather than evacuating.

Charges against the nurses, Lori Budo and Cheri Landry, were dropped after they were compelled to testify last month before the grand jury under legal guidelines that kept their testimony from being used against them.

The Orleans Parish grand jury had been investigating the charges since March.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Morales, who conducted the grand jury hearings, had asked the grand jurors to return one charge of second-degree murder and nine of murder conspiracy.

The grand jurors sat calmly while the judge read the possible charges and each response of "no true bill."

Morales said afterward that he could not comment on the decision." See the rest of the article here.

1 comment:

Judy Stone said...

In a refreshing moment of reason, more than a year since Dr. Anna Pou was arrested, the New Orleans grand jury today reached their verdict--and wisely declined to indict Dr. Pou.

Perhaps now the attention can return to the real criminals in Katrina--the politicians and irresponsible officials who abandoned the city's most vulnerable citizens during the crisis. We have the the inept FEMA officials, led by “Heck of a job, Brownie,” Michael Brown, under George W’s watchful eye.

Then we learned that FEMA suppressed health warnings from its own workers regarding formaldehyde related health hazards from FEMA-provided trailers. This is reminiscent of the reassurances New Yorkers received in the aftermath of 9-11 about the safety of their air.

This week, the New York Times also reported on the loss of major hospitals and health infrastructure in New Orleans since Katrina, as well as the exodus of doctors. This is no great surprise after the witch hunt that has haunted Dr. Pou and her other colleagues who bravely stayed to care for their patients.

Yesterday, we also learned that, despite the grand jury’s decision that there was no justification in pursuing homicide charges against Dr. Pou, Attorney General Foti wants to continue the persecution. He is requesting that documents pertaining to the case be unsealed, insisting that they will confirm that the health care workers were guilty, despite the grand jury’s finding to the contrary.

We have already witnessed the incompetence of responsible officials in dealing with Katrina. Let's not let the diversionary tactics of Foti and the like distract us from the real culprits. Rather than allowing the persecution of a fine physician to continue, let's focus on the colossal failures of our government in protecting vulnerable citizens and its shameful cover-ups. Foti, and every other grandstanding politician involved in this tragically incompetent response to disaster should be the ones to be held accountable.

Judy Stone, MD