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Author Topic: Doctor, nurses charged in Katrina deaths
DemonWolf
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quote:
Originally posted by Daniceguy:
[QBSuffering is so much easier to rationalize when it's not your own. Who cares how much these people were suffering, or whether they would die in pain. The IMPORTANT thing is that doctors and nurses drag their critically ill patients down dark staircases and out to rickety boats to make it LOOK like they're trying to wring every last second of life out of these poor people! Isn't that what medicine is all about?
[/QB]

The "IMPORTANT" thing is to save lives, not to arbitrarily decide who lives and who dies. Were any of the patients consulted prior to being executed? One was cognitive enough to complain the his injection "burned" but not to ask if he wanted to die? Apparently they can't give you an asprin without a mountain of paperwork to confirm your consent, but killing you is another story.

As far as "dragging critically ill patients down dark staircases" goes, why didn't the hospital have stair lifts to evacuate in the case of a fire?

And as to suffering during transport, we also have medications to minimize a patient's suffering, even to the point of rendering the patient unconscios. Morphine is one such drug. Instead of using that morphing for patients who were in pain, these people used an overdose of the drug and combined it with another drug to make a poision.

If you'ree going to complain about logic, you should start using some yourself.

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Rhiandmoi
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quote:
Originally posted by DemonWolf:
According to wgat I've heard, the hospital (actually a long-term care facility) was in the process of being evacuated. I do not see any reason why "euthanasia" should have been preferable to attempting to move the patients. Had the patients died en route, at least the attempt to save them was made.
In this case, someone decided that these people were not worth saving and then took stapes to make sure that these patients could not be saved. They did not simply leave them, they did not "make them comfortable." They mixed up a pioson and ended the lives of four people (so far) rather than try to evacuate them.

I am glad that they are being charged. I hope that justce will prevail.

I hope justice prevails also. If these patients died because the doctors and nurses just didn't like them that is one thing. But if they honestly believed that it was the best thing to do in those circumstances, and would result in the best outcome for the most people, I would not be able to call it murder. In every disaster triage situation, people are permitted to use a black indicator for unsalvageable. This doesn't neccessarily mean dead. It also means working on this patient takes away effort from other people that have a much better chance of survival. Once a person has been black-tagged I think their demise should be as peaceful as possible.

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Sara at home
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quote:
Originally posted by DemonWolf:
The "IMPORTANT" thing is to save lives, not to arbitrarily decide who lives and who dies. Were any of the patients consulted prior to being executed? One was cognitive enough to complain the his injection "burned" but not to ask if he wanted to die? Apparently they can't give you an asprin without a mountain of paperwork to confirm your consent, but killing you is another story.


Save lives for what? Retorical question, but one that maybe you should think about. Save the life so the patient could die sitting on that tarmac at the airport in the hot sun for hours like so many were forced to do? Or to die two days later in another hospital? That isn't saving lives, that's prolonging death.....something which doctors do ever day and is just as much "playing god" as euthanasia.

The decisions about who would be euthanized weren't arbitrary but were made by the people most knowledgable about the patients' medical conditions, their state of health and the likelihood that they could survive evacuation.

We don't know if the patients were consulted before being euthanized or if any of them expressed any wishes about it during their hospitalization or after the storm hit and evacuation became a necessity. The fact that one person said that it burned is an indication of nothing more than that person was conscious at the time the drug was administered. It says nothing more about either the patient's state of health or state of mind.

And no, a change in medication -- increase, decrease, addition or removal -- does not require a mountain of paperwork. Patients can refuse any medication and are suppose to be told what they are being given (which is moot if they aren't conscious), but it doesn't require any paperwork to confirm consent.

quote:
As far as "dragging critically ill patients down dark staircases" goes, why didn't the hospital have stair lifts to evacuate in the case of a fire?

What are stair lifts? I have spent far more time lately in hospitals than I would have preferred and never saw a stair lift, not even at the rehab hospital. Do they require electricity? There was none. Even generators weren't working.

quote:
And as to suffering during transport, we also have medications to minimize a patient's suffering, even to the point of rendering the patient unconscios. Morphine is one such drug. Instead of using that morphing for patients who were in pain, these people used an overdose of the drug and combined it with another drug to make a poision.

Have you stopped to consider that the dose required to minimize suffering during an evacuation is very possible, for the frailest and most ill patients, just about the same dose that will cause death? Morphine suppresses breathing.

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DemonWolf
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quote:
Originally posted by Rhiandmoi:
quote:
Originally posted by DemonWolf:
According to wgat I've heard, the hospital (actually a long-term care facility) was in the process of being evacuated. I do not see any reason why "euthanasia" should have been preferable to attempting to move the patients. Had the patients died en route, at least the attempt to save them was made.
In this case, someone decided that these people were not worth saving and then took stapes to make sure that these patients could not be saved. They did not simply leave them, they did not "make them comfortable." They mixed up a pioson and ended the lives of four people (so far) rather than try to evacuate them.

I am glad that they are being charged. I hope that justce will prevail.

I hope justice prevails also.If these patients died because the doctors and nurses just didn't like them that is one thing.

My choice of words here was very deliberate. I honestly do hope that justice prevails, even if it is not according to my current opinion. I hope that all of the facts are wieghed and that the jury is picked from not only people who are Hurricane Katrina survivors, but that the jury has more than one healthcare professional on it.


quote:

But if they honestly believed that it was the best thing to do in those circumstances, and would result in the best outcome for the most people, I would not be able to call it murder. In every disaster triage situation, people are permitted to use a black indicator for unsalvageable. This doesn't neccessarily mean dead. It also means working on this patient takes away effort from other people that have a much better chance of survival. Once a person has been black-tagged I think their demise should be as peaceful as possible.

That is my point though, these people were not simple black tagged and made comfortable. A deliberate action was taken to end their lives. to use your triage situation above, this would ve as though the "unsalvagable" people were killed rather than simply made comfortable. These doctors had the morphine to do it (make them "comforable"), but instead chose to use that morphine to make poison.


quote:
Originally posted by Sara at home:
What are stair lifts? I have spent far more time in hospitals than I would have preferred lately and never saw a stair lift. Do they require electricity? There was none. Even generators weren't working.


They are battery operated. While the battery is rechargeable, it can be replaced. Most ambulances have them these days to bring injured victims down stairs without further aggravating delicate injuries. My uncles nursing home hase one near each fire exit. My office has one that does not require power, but it's tricky to control the speed.
Also, why didn't the hospital have a generator for a situation that included power loss?

quote:

quote:
And as to suffering during transport, we also have medications to minimize a patient's suffering, even to the point of rendering the patient unconscios. Morphine is one such drug. Instead of using that morphing for patients who were in pain, these people used an overdose of the drug and combined it with another drug to make a poision.

Have you stopped to consider that the dose required to minimize suffering during an evacuation is very possible, for the frailest and most ill patients, just about the same dose that will cause death? Morphine suppresses breathing.

This is true, but I see a huge difference in the patient dying desipte a possibly risky move to save a life and killing the patient outright because you (the healthcare worker) decided that the patient wasn't worth saving.

Not to mention that if they were as stranded as they are claiming, wouldn't it have been wiser to save the morphine used to make the poison so that it could be used to save other lives? There are other ways of killing that does not waste life-saving medicines.

(Edited to fix quote tags)

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Sara at home
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quote:
Originally posted by DemonWolf:
They are battery operated. While the battery is rechargeable, it can be replaced. Most ambulances have them these days to bring injured victims down stairs without further aggravating delicate injuries. My uncles nursing home hase one near each fire exit. My office has one that does not require power, but it's tricky to control the speed.


If our local ambulance has one, they didn't use it either of the two times they took my aunt to the hospital from her apartment. As I said, I didn't see one at either the hospital, the rehab hospital or the nursing home where she spent her last days though I know that doesn't mean they weren't available.

Oh, and how long do those battery packs last? There was a whole hospital to evacuate. And who would have been responsible for having them to begin with? Certainly not the people stuck there trying to evacuate those people.

quote:
Also, why didn't the hospital have a generator for a situation that included power loss?

Got flooded, didn't work?


quote:
This is true, but I see a huge difference in the patient dying desipte a possibly risky move to save a life and killing the patient outright because you (the healthcare worker) decided that the patient wasn't worth saving.

That's not fair. Not worth saving? Why not "not able to be saved"?

quote:
Not to mention that if they were as stranded as they are claiming, wouldn't it have been wiser to save the morphine used to make the poison so that it could be used to save other lives? There are other ways of killing that does not waste life-saving medicines.
Well, they were preparing for evacuation which they knew was scheduled to occur the next day. The claim isn't that they were stranded but that those people could not be evacuated. (ETA: This is the major factor in why they weren't just "made comfortable". The decisions was made by an administrator, not the doctor or the nurses who ultimately administered the drugs, that no one would be left behind alive.) They had apparently determined that they didn't need the morphine for other reasons or that euthanasia was the best use for the morphine they had. And there is no denying they knew they were doing something that was going to cause a lot of problems with the ethicists and the law. They knew at the time that they could face criminal charges indicated by the doctor's statement that she would take full responsibility.

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Four Kitties
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quote:
Originally posted by Sara at home:
The claim isn't that they were stranded but that those people could not be evacuated.

Who decided they "could not be evacuated?" The administration? The medical personnel? The National Guard?

Critical care patients were evacuated all over the hurricane zone -- what's so special about this particular facility that their patients couldn't be evacuated when others were?

Four Kitties

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Sara at home
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quote:
Originally posted by Four Kitties:
quote:
Originally posted by Sara at home:
The claim isn't that they were stranded but that those people could not be evacuated.

Who decided they "could not be evacuated?" The administration? The medical personnel? The National Guard?

Critical care patients were evacuated all over the hurricane zone -- what's so special about this particular facility that their patients couldn't be evacuated when others were?

Four Kitties

Huh? According to the articles the decision was made at the direction of the administrator by the doctor charges presumably with input on the condition of the various patients from the nurses and staff caring for them.

We don't know that this didn't happen at other facilities. And vast majority of the people from this facility were evacuated.

I'm not sure why you would suggest that the hospital is somehow special.

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DemonWolf
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quote:
Originally posted by Sara at home:
quote:
Also, why didn't the hospital have a generator for a situation that included power loss?

Got flooded, didn't work?

[/qb]
We don't know that. The articles post do not mention that any of the hospital was (or was not) under water. Why did the hospital not have the Generator on the roof like most buildings that I know? Why didn't they have portable generators?

quote:

quote:
This is true, but I see a huge difference in the patient dying desipte a possibly risky move to save a life and killing the patient outright because you (the healthcare worker) decided that the patient wasn't worth saving.

That's not fair. Not worth saving? Why not "not able to be saved"?


Not fair? how about looking at a patient and sayign "he's too fat, I don't feel like lifting him. He can't be saved."
This wasn't like a fire evacuation. As you said, they knew that they were leaving the next day or so. Why couldn't they use that time to move the most critical patients so that transport would be smoothly?

quote:

quote:
Not to mention that if they were as stranded as they are claiming, wouldn't it have been wiser to save the morphine used to make the poison so that it could be used to save other lives? There are other ways of killing that does not waste life-saving medicines.
Well, they were preparing for evacuation which they knew was scheduled to occur the next day. The claim isn't that they were stranded but that those people could not be evacuated. They had apparently determined that they didn't need the morphine for other reasons or that euthanasia was the best use for the morphine they had. And there is no denying they knew they were doing something that was going to cause a lot of problems with the ethicists and the law. They knew at the time that they could face criminal charges indicated by the doctor's statement that she would take full responsibility.
If the knew that they'd be facing charges they were right. I hope that they're just as willing to face the punishment that may come from those charges as well.


[qoute]
(ETA: This is the major factor in why they weren't just "made comfortable". The decisions was made by an administrator, not the doctor or the nurses who ultimately administered the drugs, that no one would be left behind alive.)
[/qoute]


I hope that the "administrators" who were told in advance that there would be patients "euthanazed" face charges as well. But thwe phrase "no one would be left behind alive" could have meat a lot of things, like leave no one behind, but if they are already deat, don't bother transporting them. It can also mean "kill everything." In this case, I am sure that the former was intended. I seriously doubt that anyone would put an instruction to commit murder in writing. IMO, these individuals misinterpreted that as an ok to kill off a few to make their jobs easier (like the fat guy.)

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DemonWolf
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quote:
Originally posted by Sara at home:

I'm not sure why you would suggest that the hospital is somehow special.

Maybe because this is the only one who "euthanized" patient who "could not be saved?"

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Sara at home
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quote:
Originally posted by DemonWolf:
quote:
Originally posted by Sara at home:

I'm not sure why you would suggest that the hospital is somehow special.

Maybe because this is the only one who "euthanized" patient who "could not be saved?"
That we know of and where it is politically expediant to bring charges.

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Rhiandmoi
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quote:
Originally posted by Sara at home:
quote:
Originally posted by DemonWolf:
[qb]This is true, but I see a huge difference in the patient dying desipte a possibly risky move to save a life and killing the patient outright because you (the healthcare worker) decided that the patient wasn't worth saving.


That's not fair. Not worth saving? Why not "not able to be saved"?

I agree.

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Sara at home
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quote:
Originally posted by DemonWolf:
We don't know that. The articles post do not mention that any of the hospital was (or was not) under water. Why did the hospital not have the Generator on the roof like most buildings that I know? Why didn't they have portable generators?


So the answer is "We don't know. We don't know if the hospital had one. We don't know why it wasn't working if it had one." Another possibility: no fuel. OH yeah, just checked the first article I linked, says the generator "failed".

quote:
Not fair? how about looking at a patient and sayign "he's too fat, I don't feel like lifting him. He can't be saved."

I was waiting for the old fat discrimination charge. How about looking at the logistics that simply trying to take 400 pounds of anything up or down stairs is difficult enough, but when that is a live human being, in critical condition and paralyzed, it makes it a lot harder. Like I said,two EMT had difficulties with the logistics of getting my 110 pound aunt down from the second floor to the ambulance. But ignore all that, just go for the weight discrimination aspect.

quote:
This wasn't like a fire evacuation. As you said, they knew that they were leaving the next day or so. Why couldn't they use that time to move the most critical patients so that transport would be smoothly?

And why do you think they didn't? Did you read any of the articles? The same staff had been there for over six days, providing regular nursing caring while trying to prepare to evacuate what was essentially a nursing home with many critically ill and very fragile patients with no electricity, reduced food and water, backed up sewers, 100 degree temperatures, not being sure for much of that time when there would be help..... You're right, nothing like a fire.

quote:
If the knew that they'd be facing charges they were right. I hope that they're just as willing to face the punishment that may come from those charges as well.

Apparently they are. They could have disappeared in the past 10 months that this investigation has been going on but they didn't. I guess they made one of those decisions that are being discussed on the other threads about principal over job. They did what they thought best for the patients. They may have been wrong, they may lose their professional licences, they may go to jail, but they still did what they thought was best for the patients involved under the circumstances. What do you think their motivations was? Kicks? They got bored being holed up for six days? Too lazy to bother getting the rest of the staff to move these people? Didn't like those particular patients for some reason and thought it was a great way to get payback? Where's the logic?


quote:
quote:
(ETA: This is the major factor in why they weren't just "made comfortable". The decisions was made by an administrator, not the doctor or the nurses who ultimately administered the drugs, that no one would be left behind alive.)



I hope that the "administrators" who were told in advance that there would be patients "euthanazed" face charges as well. But thwe phrase "no one would be left behind alive" could have meat a lot of things, like leave no one behind, but if they are already deat, don't bother transporting them. It can also mean "kill everything." In this case, I am sure that the former was intended. I seriously doubt that anyone would put an instruction to commit murder in writing. IMO, these individuals misinterpreted that as an ok to kill off a few to make their jobs easier (like the fat guy.)

Correction from what I early said or implied: The doctor apparently made the decision based on the head of nursing saying that there were a number of patients who would likely not survive evacuation. It was Dr. Pau, according to the LA Times article, who made the final decision on who couldn't or wouldn't be evacuated. However, it is not clear who made the decision that they "were not going to leave any living patients behind" or, for that matter, why someone wasn't going to stay behind with those patients who could not be evacuated.

And really, there is no way these three women could have moved the 380 pound patient themselves or would have even had to try. There was other staff, "young strong males", IIR the wording C, who had been moving people all along. Stop making is sound like these women were just too lazy to bother. It wasn't just his weight, it was that he was already in critical condition.

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Daniceguy
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One point that many fail to take into account is that these were ordinary people in an extraordinary situation.

We're not talking about the staff of a normal hospital suddenly deciding to kill off patients they didn't like! This hospital had EXTREMELY sick patients and had NO power, NO air conditioning and NO immediate prospect of relief. People have already forgotten the panic and fear in the days just after Katrina struck, when it seemed as if the government could do nothing.

Do you think it's an accident that the Louisiana Attorney General waited almost a YEAR to file charges? He knows that people have forgotten! They'll judge the accused by the standards of today, rather than trying to appreciate the circumstances of a year ago.

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Christie
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People haven't forgotten though. I can still remember very clearly being concerned that some people were put to death before they could be rescued. If a woman living in Ottawa thought that, and still wondered about it, I can be fairly confident that the people living in and around New Orleans still want some answers.

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Sara at home
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quote:
Originally posted by Daniceguy:
Do you think it's an accident that the Louisiana Attorney General waited almost a YEAR to file charges? He knows that people have forgotten! They'll judge the accused by the standards of today, rather than trying to appreciate the circumstances of a year ago.

Then again, maybe this has something to do with the timing. Need a bit of diversion, perhaps.

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diehard
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I posted earlier but I would like to add into this mix, everyone keeps forgetting all the gunfire these workers were under for days trying to keep these patients alive. They had no sleep, the temperatures were over 100, very little food or drink, and no relief in site. I truely don't know what I would have done, I used to work nursing homes for 6 years the elderly go down hill very fast, as do your critically ill.


New article from New York Times.

ETA Article from todays New York Times where a family member states she isn't sure what she would have done either, but she would have rather seen her mom not die like this.

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Banquo's Ghost
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Viewed in the abstract, this discussion is revealing of the difficult moral and ethical choices faced by medical care in a wide emergency situation. In the specific, it seems to be more problematic in that there is a severe lack of specific information. We simply do not and cannot know the details of what happened on that day. No matter how complete the news articles may seem, the trial in this matter (if it gets to trial) will probably be lengthy - at least a week - with expert testimony from both sides and fact witnesses examined and cross examined on minute details of the situation and the nedical conditions of each patient. A couple of inches of news column cannot, to my mind, adequately summarize the relevant information that will be needed to evaluate what happened.

This discussion is, very likely, a smaller version of the issues and problems that both the prosecution and defense will face. Murder laws generally were not written with such situations as presented here in mind. Quite possibly, the deaths of the patients were violations of the law. The defense will, it seems likely, emphasize that the laws were not written with this type of scenario in mind and seek something along the lines of jury nullification.

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tootiredtocare
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I do have somewhat a personal interest in this. My sister was a nursing student who worked in Memorial during Katrina and which my neice and brother in law also were staying at prior to being evacuated to the convention center.

Numerous doctors lost patients they should never have lost. So medical conditions were absoletly abhorent and mercy killings would have only been done under triage conditions. One of the Army's Medical Corp generals said that if mercy killings occured it would have been ethical and that no doctor or nurse should be charged but instead regarded as a hero.

There was no power in the hospital. Emergency generators capable of powering a hospital and every part of a hospital for days on end are stored in the basement for several reasons.

Size of the unit it weights several tons. These things have to be airlifted in or moved in by cranes. Fuel has to be put into the unit and the fuel tank is several thousand gallons.

So no generator is ever going to be put on a building roof because to get the constant stream of fuel it needs you would have to spend quite a bit of electricity to pump up thosand gallons of fuel.

For safety reasons emergency generators are not put on roofs. They are always in the basement in a shielded area. That way if the generator explodes or catches on fire it is easy to contain. The roof would be prone to lighting strikes and other weather damage would destroy the generator.

These stair lift things aren't used by many hospitals or ambulance companies for the simple reason they cost several thousand dollars. Medical places aren't given a discount. Also the batterly would only last a few hours before having to be charged so even if the hospital had them they couldn't use them because those units no longer had power. Depending upon how the battery packs work they may have to be recharged each day even if they aren't used.

As for why patients weren't evacuated? Tell me would you be happy if you had a loved one who died due to an evacuation that wasn't even necessary? There are thousands of patients in the hospital system of a city who are unfit for an evacuation due to their injuries. Moving them would kill them within a matter of minutes. It's also one heck of a lot of effort to keep medical patients alive while they are being evactuated. Often times special aircraft have to be used.
Quite frankly due to past hurricanes hitting New Orleans keeping a number of patients too sick to be evacuated made perfect sense. Even Dallas and other cities would have done the same.

Medical workers are exempt from mandatory evacuations as are quite a number of other people. My sister and her family were told it would only be a day or two and past hurricanes had told them it would be the same.

If Katrina hadn't struck like it did then Texas wouldn't have so much evacutating people when Rita showed up. If a hurricane had struck Dallas or Houstan like it had struck Katrina you would have seen tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people acting just like they did in New Orleans.

I will post the rest of my reply later today.

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DemonWolf
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quote:
Originally posted by tootiredtocare:

There was no power in the hospital. Emergency generators capable of powering a hospital and every part of a hospital for days on end are stored in the basement for several reasons.

Size of the unit it weights several tons. These things have to be airlifted in or moved in by cranes. Fuel has to be put into the unit and the fuel tank is several thousand gallons.

So no generator is ever going to be put on a building roof because to get the constant stream of fuel it needs you would have to spend quite a bit of electricity to pump up thosand gallons of fuel.

For safety reasons emergency generators are not put on roofs. They are always in the basement in a shielded area. That way if the generator explodes or catches on fire it is easy to contain. The roof would be prone to lighting strikes and other weather damage would destroy the generator.

Apparently no one told the people who bult my office that. There is a main gernerator in the basement. There are two backup up generators in an enclosed area on the roof. There is one to power the lights, fire suppression systems and one to operate the lights and to serve as a trinary backup to the secondary generator. There are also battery backs scattered the building to power telephone lines (all of the telephone lines in the city, this is the telephone company).
I have seen both of these because as part of trining for my promotion I was required to know the location and how to start each of these. The fuel is kept on "an upper floor" (I don't know the location) so that in case of an eplosion the top of the building is damaged and not parts of the foundation that are holding up the building.

There is (was) also a fallout shelter on one of the upper floors of the building. I have not seen it, but I have seen the signs showing the way.

That is why I asked why there wasn't a generator on the roof. I have seen them there.

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Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by tootiredtocare:

As for why patients weren't evacuated? Tell me would you be happy if you had a loved one who died due to an evacuation that wasn't even necessary? There are thousands of patients in the hospital system of a city who are unfit for an evacuation due to their injuries. Moving them would kill them within a matter of minutes. It's also one heck of a lot of effort to keep medical patients alive while they are being evactuated. Often times special aircraft have to be used.
Quite frankly due to past hurricanes hitting New Orleans keeping a number of patients too sick to be evacuated made perfect sense. Even Dallas and other cities would have done the same.

You can try to excuse the actions of the doctors and nurses "on the ground" so to speak and I can go a long way towards agreeing with you (that long way stops at deliberate murder though). But what there is *no excuse for* is the pathetic actions of FEMA and other authorities in the aftermath of Katrina. It is hardly a mitigating factor to try to claim that this would have been handled the same way in other major cities. Which, incidentally, I don't believe.

The bungling actually is *still* going on. What is the excuse for that nearly a year later?

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Sara at home
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One of the interesting things about this is that Christie -- with whom I usually agree -- and others believe that (correct me if I'm wrong) there is no justification for euthanasia ever. I disagree. Having just gone through having an elderly relative paralyzed in critical condition in a nursing home, I'm am quite willing to say that had that been MY relative, I would thank the doctor for doing what she did with full knowledge that my aunt agreed with the decision. I would, in fact, testify for the defense if asked.

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Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

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Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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I think just the fact that two of the people who were killed (that we know of) were awake and coherent is enough to make me see this as deliberate murder as opposed to euthanasia. If these people wanted to be put out of their misery they had the opportunity to speak up. So far at least no one is claiming that this happened.

Note: this is the reason the left will never take over the world Sara - we just don't walk in lock-stop on every issue [Wink]

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Sara at home
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quote:
Originally posted by Christie:
I think just the fact that two of the people who were killed (that we know of) were awake and coherent is enough to make me see this as deliberate murder as opposed to euthanasia. IF these people wanted to be put out of their misery they had the opportunity to speak up. So far at least no one is claiming that this happened.

My aunt was technically awake and responsive and in critical condition. Sometimes, despite her paralysis, she could even make comments that were coherent. A nephew said she was awake and somewhat responsive an hour before she died but clearly she was about to die. I knew the day before that she would not live three days, at the very most, a week if she lingered. Would either she or I want her subjected to evacuation under those circumstances, specifically the type of evacuation that was going on in New Orleans then including long waits on a tarmac in the hot sun in 100 degree temperatures and almost as much humidity? Absoulely not.

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Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

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Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by Sara at home:
quote:
Originally posted by Christie:
I think just the fact that two of the people who were killed (that we know of) were awake and coherent is enough to make me see this as deliberate murder as opposed to euthanasia. IF these people wanted to be put out of their misery they had the opportunity to speak up. So far at least no one is claiming that this happened.

My aunt was technically awake and responsive and in critical condition. Sometimes, despite her paralysis, she could even make comments that were coherent. A nephew said she was awake and somewhat responsive an hour before she died but clearly she was about to die. I knew the day before that she would not live three days, at the very most, a week if she lingered. Would either she or I want her subjected to evacuation under those circumstances, specifically the type of evacuation that was going on in New Orleans then including long waits on a tarmac in the hot sun in 100 degree temperatures and almost as much humidity? Absoulely not.
But that decision was yours and your Aunt's to make. What bothers me about what happened in this hospital is that someone went up and down the halls of a hospital picking out people to kill. I realise they may have had the best of intentions in doing this - but I cannot accept it. Everyone has a right to life - even if that life is crappy and filled with pain. I know people who are living lives I certainly would not choose but they cling to their life. I mean at the end of the day it's really all we have. And no one has a right to take it away from us.

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If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation. - Jean Kerr

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DemonWolf
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quote:
Originally posted by Sara at home:
quote:
Originally posted by Christie:
I think just the fact that two of the people who were killed (that we know of) were awake and coherent is enough to make me see this as deliberate murder as opposed to euthanasia. IF these people wanted to be put out of their misery they had the opportunity to speak up. So far at least no one is claiming that this happened.

My aunt was technically awake and responsive and in critical condition. Sometimes, despite her paralysis, she could even make comments that were coherent. A nephew said she was awake and somewhat responsive an hour before she died but clearly she was about to die. I knew the day before that she would not live three days, at the very most, a week if she lingered. Would either she or I want her subjected to evacuation under those circumstances, specifically the type of evacuation that was going on in New Orleans then including long waits on a tarmac in the hot sun in 100 degree temperatures and almost as much humidity? Absoulely not.
But would you want the doctor to be the one to decide (as opposed to your "somewhat responsive" aunt to make the decicion to inject poison and end her life?

While I beleive the Euthanasia is morally wrong, I also beleive that a terminally ill patient should be allowed to choose that as an option. It is a personal choice that no one should make for you. If the person was unconscious or otherwise incapable of makin that decision, and there is no family member or other person who is legally authorized to make that decision (legal gaurdian, POA, etc), then the doctor should decide based on what the patient would want.

In this case, some of the patients were lucid enough to complain that the injection burned, why couldn't they have been consulted as to whether they wanted to die?

And to be honest, I would feel a whole lot better knowing that my relative died on a tarmac because s/he was too weak for transport than knowing that s/he was killed by the medical staff rather than even try to save her life.

In thses cases, they decided not to even try. Had they tried and failed, I would feel very differently.

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Sara at home
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quote:
Originally posted by Christie:
I know people who are living lives I certainly would not choose but they cling to their life. I mean at the end of the day it's really all we have. And no one has a right to take it away from us.

I believe that there are some extraordinary circumstances where, indeed, others do have that right when the person is near death and not able to give consent. And this was certainly an extraordinary circumstance. Was there justification to expand the limited resources to extend -- not save -- the lives of a few people? Fourteen had lethal levels of morphine but there were statements about any level of consciousness for only two of them. All were intensive care patients.

But I still want to know why it was decided that no one would be left behind alive, why no one volunteered to say behind and care for those who were too sick to move. Surely the boats coming in to evacuate the patients could have brought sufficient supplies to sustain 14 patients and their caregivers until either all the patients died or until the floods receeded enough to make evacuation possible. I really would like to hear that the people making the decisions tried to put a plan like that in place. But then, considering the chaos that existed not only then but that continues ten months later, that plan probably wasn't doable.

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Sara at home
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quote:
Originally posted by DemonWolf:
But would you want the doctor to be the one to decide (as opposed to your "somewhat responsive" aunt to make the decicion to inject poison and end her life?


Yes. The alternative was to move her -- she was already getting morphine because of the pain being moved caused her) by boat through the town to some other mode of transportation which ended in sitting on the tarmac in very hot humid weather waiting for air evacuation to a hospital in another city where she would have no friends or family -- or even staff who knew her -- where she would have undoubtely died alone. I can't think of any more horrible way to spend the last days of a life that she was just suppose to leave peacefully. I think anyone who would have wanted that sort of evacuation for a family member on the brink of death is ......cruel.

quote:
While I beleive the Euthanasia is morally wrong, I also beleive that a terminally ill patient should be allowed to choose that as an option. It is a personal choice that no one should make for you. If the person was unconscious or otherwise incapable of makin that decision, and there is no family member or other person who is legally authorized to make that decision (legal gaurdian, POA, etc), then the doctor should decide based on what the patient would want.

Nursing homes and hosptials around here encourage living wills. I think the nursing home requires one from competent patients. (I'm not sure because my aunt had one so there was no need to discuss it further.) I would be very interested in what the living wills of those patients said, if they had one. I know that euthanasia is not covered by living wills because it is illegal, but I think ones feeling about what one would want could be gleaned from a living will.

quote:
In this case, some of the patients were lucid enough to complain that the injection burned, why couldn't they have been consulted as to whether they wanted to die?

In reading the New York Times article which provided more information about that patient, I have to wonder the same thing. However, the woman's daughter is understanding of the situation, if not approving what happened.
quote:
"I kind of suspected that she was euthanized because I saw her on the 28th of August in the hospital," the day before the storm, Ms. Jacob said. "She was sitting up, talking to us, no IV's; her blood was good."

Asked if she would consider the death of her mother a homicide, Ms. Jacob hesitated.

"In a way I don't blame those nurses," she said. "It was a terrible thing they went through. They made a decision, and maybe it was wrong, maybe it was right. I don't know. I was not there. But I know I would have liked my mother to pass in a different way."

Of course, we all want our relatives to die peacefully when their time is due. But as was said, these were extraordinary circumstances.

On the other hand, we don't know that patients weren't consulted. Most of the information is coming from the district attorney who wouldn't reveal that information (euthanasia by request is still illegal) and interviews with family members who weren't there. It is conceivable to me that this woman requested that she not be moved. Perhaps she became aware of the decisions being made and decided she was just too tired to bother being moved and asked to be left behind.

quote:
And to be honest, I would feel a whole lot better knowing that my relative died on a tarmac because s/he was too weak for transport than knowing that s/he was killed by the medical staff rather than even try to save her life.

My aunt would haunt me forever if I consented to her being subjected to the conditions of evacuation in order to prolong her life a few days or even weeks. Had she died on an airport tarmac in 100 degre temperature with the humid not much lower because I agreed to that, I'd be in trouble. In fact, she would have died on the tarmac under those circumstance because she would have refused to continue to live under those conditions.

ETA: I also witnessed twice how stressful and exhausting it was for my aunt to be transported from the hospital approximantely ten miles, partly down tree-lined semi-rural roads, to another facility. Those trips were by air conditioned ambulance in perfect weather. None of the staff involved -- at the hospital, at the other facilites, and on the ambulance -- were under any abnormal stress yet my aunt was weakened both times.

--------------------
Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

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tootiredtocare
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It has not been stated if the patients asked for it or if the doctors discussed it. Since the doctors aren't talking the newspaper wouldn't have any info on it.

In all likelyhood the patients that were euthanized were those that were already dying but whose deaths was very slow and painfull.

Sorry daemonwolf but your office isn't constructed to form nor intelligently in regards to emergency power generators. Fallout shelters aren't near the top of the building unless designed by an idiot. You are right in the way of major radiation exposure if the fallout shelter is near the top of a building.
Radiation exposure is much less if the shelter is in the basement or in fact under the basement.

Yes other cities would have reacted the same way in regards to patients. It's in the fracking plans of each city in regards to how medical patients are transported out.

Lots of patients you do not move because it would kill them. Accident victims who have undergone major surgery for instance or someone who recently went a multiple organ transplant for example.

Here are some clues as to what the doctors were under. When a patient's breathing machine no longer has power that patient is kept alive by a hand pump machine. Those things tire out a person in just a few minutes. So the doctors and staff were to the breaking point and exhuasted from keeping people alive. Critical care people in such a case literally consume most of the hospitals effort to keep them alive. This effort has consequeances. Patients that wouldn't have died do die to lack of supplies as well as the lack of medical personel to attend to them.

Sadly civilian doctors do not understand triage. Any military doctor being informed of the circumstances of the New Orleans hospitals it was ethical as to what the doctors and nurses being charged. Those patients would have died anyway and any effort to save them would have made more patients die.

So is it right that six patients who have the best chance to live are condemdened to die to possibly save or prolong the suffering of one patient who will most likely die anyway in a day or two? Most people would say no and that it would be ethical to let that one person die but let them die with no pain.

My sister saw Doctors break down in tears from seeing people turned away at the hospital. People that were begging for medical help coming to the hospital in rowboats or swimming up the hospital with their chin in the water. The hospital couldn't help people.

The guards were swamped trying to stop people from breaking in.

The morgue was flooded, no air conditioning, it was a swamp of disease conditions. Lots of people evacuating had illnesses due to the conditions.

My sister had to recieve counseling and certain prescription drugs to combat what she had seen not only in the hospital but in the convention center.

After my sister got out and she saw news stories of people shooting at convoys of relief trucks she sympthanized with the shooters because in that instance she would have done the same thing.

That is how dire things were to a lot of people in New Orleans at that time.

It still is dire. My sister's friends who stayed on reported that they had to be carefull driving because people would walk right out into the street and get on their knees while in tears. People walked into recently opened shopping centers took out knives and stabbed themselves to death while in front of witnesses.

It was found at my sister's apartment complext that an old couple had shot themselves after several days of being trapped in their apartment due to the flood waters.

Lots of people thought the goverment had abandoned to them to die in New Orleans. When you have that kind of thinking widespread what the hell do you think is going to happen?

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Sara at home
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Today's Associated Press article.

One of the victims was originally scheduled to have both legs amputated that day because of gangrene. I have to wonder how much her condition had deteriorated in the days the level of care deteriorated because of the storm.

The article also quotes the woman I quote above as now saying the doctor and nurses are "murderers".

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tootiredtocare
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Gangrene is very nasty if untreated. It spreads very fast if you have to a limb wholly amputed. In those hot humid conditions with all that disease risk it would likely have killed the woman in short order. Very nasty way to die.
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DemonWolf
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quote:
Originally posted by tootiredtocare:
was very slow and painfull.

Sorry daemonwolf but your office isn't constructed to form nor intelligently in regards to emergency power generators. Fallout shelters aren't near the top of the building unless designed by an idiot. You are right in the way of major radiation exposure if the fallout shelter is near the top of a building.
Radiation exposure is much less if the shelter is in the basement or in fact under the basement.

Think again. After the initial blast, radiated dust begins to settlte. A fallout shelter on an upper floor of the building would put you above the worst of the radiation. Any of the signs that I've seen for fallout shelters (my building, Boston Garden) all have had signs pointing up to the uper floors. The reason for putting the generator up high was because there was a concern that the building's basement may flood.

My building was literally built to withstand a major war. That is how important AT&T viewed delivering telephone service in the 1950's. It should also be noted that this was a time before cell phone service and when police "call boxes" were more comon that police radios.

My question about a roof mounted generator was a valid question. It is done and in a situation where a loss of power could cost lives, I don't know why it wouldn't continue to be done.

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Sara at home
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I do have to say, DW, that I've lived in a lot of places and I have never seen fallout shelters or generators on higher levels nor stair lifts in public buildings. The ambulance that transported my aunt didn't have a lift though you said they are common. I wonder how common those things are.

BTW, how much fuel is stored for that roof mounted generator? How quickly would it be exhausted? Enough for four to six days?

AT&T in Boston vs a charity hospital in New Orleans. Who do you think will have the better equipped facility?

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Christie
The Bills of St. Mary's


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quote:
Originally posted by tootiredtocare:
Gangrene is very nasty if untreated. It spreads very fast if you have to a limb wholly amputed. In those hot humid conditions with all that disease risk it would likely have killed the woman in short order. Very nasty way to die.

Then surely this will prove to be a mitigating factor in this specific person's case if things proceed to trial? It is not like the doctor & nurses are being railroaded here - presumably there will be a trial and all sides will have a chance to explain themselves.

Like Sara I am particularly interested in hearing how the authorities involved are going to try to play this.

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If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation. - Jean Kerr

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tootiredtocare
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DW when a nuke goes off the radiation will get anybody outside a basement. Sorry but fallout radiation will not get to someone in a basement. Radiation is line of sight. A nuke would irridate the top floors of a building but not the basement. Nuclear fallout isn't that much of a danger unless breathed in. Nuclear Accident fallout is much more radioactive then a bomb. Heck the shelter is to sheild people from radiation and tell me where else do you find 40-50 feet of concrete not in a constant line of sight with a nuclear bomb? The basement. Nations back during the 60s built thousands of fallout shelters which could host their population for a year or two they were all underground.

Even goverment built fallout centers that often had their own emergency power generators and radio transmitters are always underground.

SurvivalRing.org has links to dozens of goverment documents on fallout shelters including how to build improvised ones in your backyard. Each one is underground.

Every building plan for a fallout shelter I have ever has the structure underground.

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tootiredtocare
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Christie the people that are bringing up the charges where the ones raising the fuss over Terry Schavieo, protecting the pledge by not allowing the courts to do their job, making flag burning which only occurs once a year but tens of thousands of flags are burned by war veterns as well as boy scouts a greater issue then the Iraq War.

So no they don't want the truth to come out which would make these medical personel not charged at all nor lose their liscense.

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