A former colleague comments on Dr. Anna Pou

Due to intense interest in the Anna Pou story, the following post will be republished to stay current.

Original post date: 7/19/2006

Waking Up Costs offers his support:

I just learned that a former colleague and friend has been charged with second degree murder in the death of four patients at a New Orleans hospital after Katrina. I worked with Dr. Anna Pou in the operating room when we were both in Galveston, Texas for three years in the late nineties. She worked as a head and neck surgeon specializing in cancer surgery and I provided anesthesia for many of her cases. After reading the story my only reaction is that this entire case is about an attorney general making a name for himself. Dr. Pou is a wonderful, caring, highly skilled surgeon. Her concern has always been for the comfort and well-being of her patients.

Update -
Matthew Holt chimes in:

But where the hell was the Louisiana or New Orleans AG (or for that matter any other level of government) when desperate physicians, nurses and patients needed help? Absolutely effing nowhere. A humane person wouldn’t leave a dog to slowly die or drown in the 105 degree heat, let alone another human. And it seems to me that in absolutely desperate circumstances, Dr Anna Pou did what she felt was best for those patients.Yet six months later a grandstanding DA gets his jollies off by sending physicians and nurses on trial for homicide.

NY Times:

In interviews, several experts said that although they did not know the details of the case, they suspected that it had to be more complicated than the “plain and simple homicide” asserted by the attorney general, Charles C. Foti.

The doctor and nurses may have engaged in mercy killing; if so, given the circumstances, it is not clear that any jury would convict them, a legal expert said. Another possibility, medical experts said, is that the patients were suffering and the only way to keep them comfortable was with high drug doses that may, incidentally, have hastened their deaths. It is not known, though, how much the patients were suffering.

NY Times also with more background on Dr. Pou:

Dr. Pou was known among fellow doctors as a fierce advocate for her patients and a prominent specialist in the difficult field of endocrine surgery. Her father was a doctor, as were two of her uncles, and she was so devoted to medicine that a résumé listing her continuing education courses, scholarly publications and teaching activities stretches for 21 pages.

Another doctor who knows her well, Peter Deblieux, described Dr. Pou as having an excellent reputation in her field. “This isn’t some marginal, flaky physician,” he said . . .

. . . “There are a lot of doctors who have a lot of problems with this,” said Dr. Richard Vinroot, who was at Touro Infirmary during the storm. “It’s going to have an impact on a lot of people, because nobody is going to want to stay for a storm again.”

Update -
This page on Dr. Anna Pou will be continually updated as the story develops.

Comments are moderated before they are published. Please read the comment policy.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe we can ask her patients what they think of her… wait… nevermind.

  • Anonymous

    Anon 12:27:

    Maybe we can ask your friends what they think of you… wait… nevermind.

  • Anonymous

    Please. Ask my friends. They, fortunately, have not been euthanized.

  • Anonymous

    If you’re in a war and the enemy is standing over you with a shot gun in your face, do you want him to pull the trigger right then or drag you through the street first, starve you , not allow you to have any water, rape you a few times and then pull the trigger?

    These places were absolutely a war zone following katrina. Have you forgotten that?

  • Anonymous

    “In interviews, several experts said that although they did not know the details of the case, they suspected that it had to be more complicated than the “plain and simple homicide” asserted by the attorney general, Charles C. Foti.”

    How can one be an expert on an issue they don’t know the details of?

    It’s amazing how easily physicians jump to conclusions without facts as long as they’re defending they’re own. Further proof of why they shouldn’t be in charge of judging themselves.

  • Anonymous

    For the war zone analogy to hold, the appropriate question to ask would be of a soldier being justifed in killing his or her civilian charges. In the military world we would call that a war crime.

    One of things that this whole sad and tragic fiasco shows is that the civil rights violating gun grabbers should not be listened to. Knowing the worst case projections for the damage from Katrina, the hospital should in the least have had armed guards.

    BTW, it doesn’t matter how impressive her CV is in regards to her guilt or innocence. W French Anderson, the father of gene therapy (pretty impressive CB), pleaded guilty yesterday to charges related to child sexual abuse. Very accomplished individuals are not free of the capability of committing criminal acts.

  • Anonymous

    I recall, in the days and week after the storm, that there was triage in effect for evacuated patients. After they came in on transport, usually a helicopter, a brief evaluation was made, and a tag was attached to each patient. Those with black tags were going to die, no matter what the overstressed medical personnel did. They were shunted over to the side, and the doctors and nurses went to help those who had a chance to live.

    I cried over this description because these people were suffering, and would do so until they expired. And nothing was done. Nothing could be done with the resources available.

    Mr. Attorney General, are you going to charge that triage crew, too?

  • Anonymous

    Can you really not distinguish the difference between actions and omissions?

  • Michael Rack, MD

    “that a résumé listing her continuing education courses, scholarly publications and teaching activities stretches for 21 pages”
    A 21 page cv isn’t that impressive, especially if you include CME

  • Anonymous

    -”Please. Ask my friends. They, fortunately, have not been euthanized.”

    Maybe not, but they can hope.

  • Anonymous

    -”A 21 page cv isn’t that impressive, especially if you include CME”

    A 21-page CV is evidence for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, that, or a terminal social bore. Stuff like that is an invitation to tear off the top two sheets and shred the rest.

  • Anonymous

    This sounds like something on Nancy Grace’s show. All this talk that means nothing because none of you have the facts yet. I’m not condemning anyone just because they have been charged with a crime. Why not wait for facts instead of speculating so much?

  • Anonymous

    Why don’t they charge the local, state, or federal Govt. with all the deaths that happened in that astrodome? Or FEMA! Or for all the deaths every where during Katrina for all the people stuck there because our great country didn’t have a plan for evacuating its own residents.

  • Anonymous

    This is a witch hunt plain and simple. Next time a natural disaster hits, patients may well find themselves truly in “the Lord’s hands”. I wonder if this doctor is married or has children. If so, I sure feel sorry for them. The medical profession and associated industry should boycott Louisiana for conventions/meetings. I doubt the parties involved are covered by malpractice insurance for criminal accusations/acts. They should be covered by a good Samaritan statute if one exists in that backwater.

  • Anonymous

    “After reading the story my only reaction is that this entire case is about an attorney general making a name for himself”. You are correct. And that name is Mudd.

  • Anonymous

    We need to send all the real criminals back to Louisiana so the authorities have something better to do.

  • Anonymous

    Doctor Pou,Cheryl Landy and Lori Budo,
    It is so easy for many couch potatoes who were not in your shoes to judge you.
    If it was one of my family members or myself I would thank you for being so brave knowing that your compassionate actions would be harshly judged and punished.
    May Love and Light surround you and bring you Peace.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t begin to imagine the torment you endured and are still facing.
    You have my full support.

  • Anonymous

    Just wanted to extend my full support to the accused. With all the total disregard for human life that occured post-Katrina (only some of which was perpetrated by FEMA), the D.A.’s office chooses to prosecute doctors and nurses, who stayed to care for the sick at considerable risk to themselves? Pathetic. Just pathetic.

  • Anonymous

    If it turns out that the AG is right, what are all you apologists going to say then?

  • Anonymous

    By the way, a 21 page CV is very impressive, especially if it is filled with numerous published research papers and presentations at National meetings. I don’t know many people who are highly respected in academia that include their continuing medical education hours on their CV – that would be laughable. And in academics, just because you have a very impressive CV like Dr. Pou does not mean you have a personality disorder. It means you are a success in your chosen field. She is an incredibly social person, was even a member of the Junior League in Galveston when she was there. Everyone who knows her considers themselves lucky to be her friend.
    Additionally, the majority of her patients not only adore her but are alive because of her!

  • Anonymous

    Re: “If it turns out that the AG is right, what are all you apologists going to say then?”

    As has already been stated:
    “Her concern has always been for the comfort and well-being of her patients.”

  • Anonymous

    Nobody is above the law. Regardless of the outcome, but especially when these providers are found innocent, perhaps we may reflect on why anyone of reasonable intellect would contemplate a career in the medical or nursing professions. Talk about pain and suffering!

  • Anonymous

    “Re: “If it turns out that the AG is right, what are all you apologists going to say then?”

    As has already been stated:
    “Her concern has always been for the comfort and well-being of her patients.””

    You’re going to say, well sure she took someone’s life without their consent, but she was concerned about their well being? Good luck with that defense.

  • Anonymous

    My husband and myself are both nurses at one of the few hospitals that remained operational during Katrina and it’s aftermath. We sent our 3 young children to safty with family as their safety is our primary concern.
    I am here to tell you that anyone who volunteered for “hurricane duty” never anticipated what this storm would bring.
    We did not suffer nearly the devastation that Dr. Pou and her staff endured and we found it difficult to to believe what was happening to us. My heart bleeds for the victims Dr. Pou and the dedicated nurses that worked by her side for those long days that followed this tragedy.
    Perhaps Mr. foti should not cast stone. Things were undoubtedly sunny and dry where he rode out the storm. He has nerve to be casting stones at these professionals who put their lives in danger for the citizens of his his state.
    Thank Mr. Foti when your family member cannot get pain relief because their medical team is afraid of the consequences.
    Mr. Foti owes these women a public apology.
    Shame on you Mr. Foti- you have changed the way nurses nurses and doctors doctor.

  • Anonymous

    Just because you’re a doctor in a difficult situation doesn’t mean that you get to kill people.

  • Anonymous

    Can you people who are blindly backing these people without any of the facts identify what hospitals you work at?

    I’ll want to make sure that I’m not in them during a storm lest you decide you’re too stressed and I’m in too much pain to go on living.

  • Anonymous

    I can find people who are blindly backing-do you know why? Because people like you are blindly judging. Take yourself and all of your family members OUT OF TOWN when the wind starts to blow again!You will be hard pressed to find anyone in the medical field willing to make them comfy!
    This is all about relying on others do you the families of the sick should be doing and then wanting to get rich off of their demise. Thank mother nature, the goverment and the head of this big corporation for not assisting. Do you think these professionals just practiced for 25+ years waiting for a cat 5 to roll over them so they could kill people??? You have lost your mind. As a practicing registered nurse, there is NOTHING I could hear that would change the way I feel. I live in N.O., I lived through Katrina at a local hospital with many sick patients. I feel qualified to defend (and not blindly) them. I hope that others continue to rally around these women. I hope they stick together and hope those not qualified to judge continue to do so “blindly” on their sides.
    Quit depending on others to do YOUR duty.

  • Anonymous

    Please don’t be in my hospital for the next storm, we don’t want you. Evacuate, if you have any sense.

  • Anonymous

    These medical professionals have my complete support. I can’t begin to imagine the horrible situation they faced. Ten to one that Louisiana Attorney General Foti was nowhere near anything like the pain or suffering that surrounded the staff left at the Memorial Medical Center – shame on him!
    Is there any website established in which support for Dr. Pou can formally be documented?

  • Anonymous

    “I can find people who are blindly backing-do you know why? Because people like you are blindly judging.”

    I have no idea if she’s guilty or not. Which is why I’m condemning neither of the sides.

    “As a practicing registered nurse, there is NOTHING I could hear that would change the way I feel.”

    Like many in the healthcare field, facts are irrelevant to you when it is one of your own being questioned. You decide first, ask questions never.

    “I feel qualified to defend (and not blindly) them.”

    Because. . . you know nothing about what exactly happened there? Who else are you qualified to defend on that basis?

  • Anonymous

    People have been forced to step up and defend Dr. Pou, thank you Charlie. That is why the nurses and other medical staff feel so passionate. Charlie does not know the facts if he believes the accusations to be true. I am qualified as stated earlier. I WAS HERE!!! WERE YOU? Were you without the basics? Food, water, windows blowing in all over the place. Fear of never seeing your family again? Obviously not. Perhaps you and Charlie spent the week together basking in the sun or perhaps high upon a mountain top. Stay for the next storm (has to be greater than a cat 3) and then you may have a little more insight and you will be “qualified” to have an intelligent conversation with me!

  • Anonymous

    Have you ever seen someone die a natural death without narcotics?

  • Anonymous

    “I WAS HERE!!! WERE YOU? Were you without the basics? Food, water, windows blowing in all over the place. Fear of never seeing your family again?”

    You were at the hospital where this happened? Have you informed the defense team?

    Tell me, in your mind, as someone who “was there”, at what point do you get to decide whether people live or die without their consent? What are the conditions that allow for that? Can we trust US healthcare professionals to go to war torn areas anymore? What if they get stressed and decide to put people out of their misery?

  • Anonymous

    You can’t read. I said I was in one of the only hospitals that remained operational during Katrina and her aftermath. I realize that I am dealing with someone with a negative IQ, but let me explain this to you.
    These patients (and obviously their family members who evacuated without them) trusted this facility and these physicians to take the best care of them that they could. That is what these professionals have been doing for years. They worked with what they had. I and everyone I know (mostly nurses and physicians) believe that this trio should be praised for not abandoning their post. The city was a warzone and it must have become apparent after 4 days that they had been left for dead. That is what any reasonable person would think.
    Help had been promised to them for days. They were mentally and physically exhausted. They were dehydrated (that means they were tired and could really use some fluids because it was 105 degrees).This is a tragedy. Many people lost their lives. Many people stepped up to help a devastated community. Many went above and beyond their obligations. Firemen, policemen and the national guard all performed amazing rescues. They are all amazing people who should be honored. Unfortunately, everyone could not be saved. They didn’t pick and choose. Not all of these patients were able to survive such conditions. Use your brain. They are not to blame. Thank mother nature, the patients families, the government—the list goes on. And myhats off to Dr. Poe. I wish I were fortunate enough to practice with this woman who put her patients comfort and dignity above everything else.
    PS Do you think many medical staff will be available for the next tropical system? My guess is no.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you. They did do a noble thing in staying.

    But I’m still waiting on someone with a ridiculously high IQ like you to state that the situation allowed for them to take patients’ lives without their consent, if that is what occurred. That appears to be your argument – because they were in trying situations they are granted immunity from killing people.

    You keep telling me all these stories of how bad it was. OK, I don’t doubt you. Are you arguing that because they stayed they had carte blanche to take lives?

    Please, tell me how one gauges when situations are significantly trying enough that you can start killing without consent?

  • Anonymous

    As for your claims that the city was a warzone, that hospital had an evacuation plan and people were actually evacuated from it.

  • M

    Do you realize that patient are given morphine cocktails in the final hours of thier lives in every hospital, on every floor, every day. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A PATIENT DIE A NATURAL DEATH WITHOUT NARCOTICS? You may not have been in the hurricane’s but you may have experienced natural death. It is misery. They gurgle and gasp and moan until their body simply cannot go any further. This isn’t about nurses being to tired. It is about patient’s being to tired to survive the evacuation process. If you have ever seen natural death then you will agree that there is a point that comes that fighting is no longer productive and letting go is what is best.

  • Anonymous

    People were evacuated from the hospital-on Thursday night! How is that for an evacuation plan? Left for 4 days. That’s a pathetic excuse for an evacuation plan. The city WAS a warzone. People with sense evacuated. People with alot of sense took their family with them (even the sick ones). And what was N.O. left with? Aside from those who stayed to serve our community, there were few who aided our efforts. That area wasn’t all that safe under the best of circumstances. That week it was a Warzone whether of not you agree.
    As far as taking someones life without their consent, if the patient can’t speak for themself, we would contact family. But wait- the family has disappeared. They are not there to give consent. That is assuming she were giving the medication to end their life. As far as administering narcotics for pain control, we do not need a consent, only a doctor’s order. The patient does not have to be able to ask for pain medication. Many suffering patients are unable to speak and it takes a very attentive nurse to recognize non-verbal pain indicators. This may include ( but not limited to ) facial grimacing, labored breathing, elevated heart rate, moaning or guarding action. The nurse would use her discretion and administer pain medication based on these ques. All with no consent needed.

  • Anonymous

    My sister and her husband, both R.N.s, stayed at one of the local hospitals that remained open in the NOLA area. They sent their three young children to saftey with family members. Of course, they had no idea that it would be 12 days before they saw their children again. Why did they stay? Because they are dedicated health care professionals who cared enough to stay and take care of patients that could not be moved. I’ve heard some stories from them about the conditions that they endured during that period. My point: Dr. Pou and the nurses whose pictures have been splashed all over the country did their best in a very hellish situation. If I were on a jury, I could never convict them. A lot of my friends feel the same way. Quite the opposite. I commend these professionals for staying to care for these patients and putting their own lives in danger. I do believe that Charlie Foti is trying to make a name for himself. What he did to these women is WRONG! I do hope that Charlie does not have to be hospitalized, in need of pain meds. Any health care professional would be quite hesitant to give it to him.

  • Anonymous

    Health care professional would be more than hesitant to make Charles Foti comfortable.Sorry Charlie. You make you bed, you lie in it. Perhaps the previous writer can now understand that patients don’t have to “consent” to die. We are medical professionals. Perhaps we are able to make some amazing things happen. We cannot however change which way the wind blows or turn the tide. We are able to continue to function among death and destruction. We are a dedicated group, to our patients and to each other. We believe that patient and collegue has something invaluable to teach us.
    I have learned alot in the last week. Like it seems that you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
    Charlie, you have made a name for yourself but not a name that I would like to have.

  • Anonymous

    Please, all of you who have granted yourselves the authority to kill people, post the hospitals that you work at so us patients can know where not to go to in times of crisis.

  • rr

    If you are asking all of us that side with the victims, ie Dr. Pou and nurses, you probably don’t want to know where we work. Remember, if you live in southeast La., there are only a handful of hospitals open. You may want to seek medical attention in another state (and please don’t tell them what you think of the situation-it is in your best interest!).

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know why you “side” with anyone considering you literally know nothing of what happened at that particular hospital at the moment these acts allegedly occurred.

    Many of you feel you should be immune from any actions you take while you’re in a crisis and getting killed without their consent is just a fact of life for your patients in that situation. I pray that not all healthcare professionals feel that way.

    And thanks, I will avoid those hospitals if I can help it. Particularly when the weather’s bad and you’re pissy.

  • Anonymous

    When the next hurricane hits, you can bet that I, a general surgeon, and my wife, an ICU nurse, will leave this southeastern city and go to a safe place in the country with our children. Why should we risk our careers (and possibly lives) to this litigious population?

  • Anonymous

    Uhh, no one filed a civil suit. These are criminal charges brought by the state. Read closer.

    And here’s a tip – how about you don’t just unilaterally kill any of them and their family won’t sue you and you won’t get arrested. I know that’s an onerous rule, but surely you can set your God complex aside long enough to do that.

  • Anonymous

    Stop saying “without consent”. When it is your time, you don’t have to have a consent. You don’t need a consent to give pain medication. And, when one of our patients codes, we try to save them if that is their wish. Sometimes we can and sometimes we can’t.
    We as healthcare prviders should not be “immune” in crisis situations. We should be appreciated. Treat us with a little respect. Thanks us for the lives we saved. I know lots of “pissy” people who would not kill anyone. And again, do avoid my hospital. We don’t want such unappreciative patients. Take your rotten ass north to avoid pissy nurses if that is what you are afraid of. Oh, and take tour family with you.

  • Anonymous

    “Stop saying “without consent”. When it is your time, you don’t have to have a consent. You don’t need a consent to give pain medication.”

    You’re right, euthanasia isn’t legal regardless of consent in Louisiana, so the consent doesn’t matter. There is no statute that authorizes you as a healthcare provider to deliver lethal doses because you think it’s my time regardless of whether I consent.

    “And again, do avoid my hospital. We don’t want such unappreciative patients.”

    How do you know the ones you have are appreciative? They’re dead? Have they come back to thank you for taking their life because you were stressed?

  • Anonymous

    Litigious means a fondness for legal contest by judicial process. It does not inherently imply that the legal action is civil or criminal. A district attorney who aggressively prosecutes marginal cases could be called litigious and the society that elects him could be called litigious. Read closer, anonymous 7:03 PM, and read the dictionary.

  • Anonymous

    The statement was “litigious population”. The “population” had nothing to do with it. It wasn’t a bunch of people out there filing frivolous lawsuits – it was the state charging a crime.

    You have no idea how many “marginal” cases this DA may file. In fact, you don’t even know if this one is marginal because you haven’t seen one iota of evidence.

    Are you starting a campaign on behalf of all criminal defendants against our litigious DAs?

  • Anonymous

    Umm, again, if you would only read for comprehension you would already know that this D.A. hasn’t “filed” anything. There are no criminal charges and there is no case. The women have been arrested, not charged.

  • Anonymous

    Anon 12:59, the D.A. has yet to bring charges. The A.G. has not either, because he lacks the authority to do so (despite his announcement that his office had charged the women). That’s enough to make anyone question his legal acumen.

  • rr

    zrixThis message is for Charlie, old boy, and all of the supporters of this case. This is not a battle that you will win and I as a professional healthcare provider cannot wait for the day that it is pushed aside. Foti is wasting the taxpayers money, time and is causing undue heartache to many. We talk about it at the hospital EVERY single day. We are all professionals and sickened by Charlie’s accusations.
    YOU WON’T WIN CHARLIE. And you can take that to the bank!
    I am curious to know what Charlie’s brother, a general surgeon practicing here in the city thinks about this.

  • Anonymous

    For those who want to know exactly what the basis for the crime is:


    “This message is for Charlie, old boy, and all of the supporters of this case.”

    There are no “supporters” of this case, there are only people willing to let the facts be heard before they start making pronouncements. You don’t automatically “support” this case simply because you don’t think getting a job in a hospital is a license to kill.

    ” We talk about it at the hospital EVERY single day. We are all professionals and sickened by Charlie’s accusations.”

    That really is sweet. It would mean even more if you had actually been there when this happened and had a clue what you were talking about.

  • Steven

    I applaud Dr Pou and the nurses accused. The “loved Ones” of those who passed “questionably” would be raising hell right if they found out out their loved ones had died miserable, suffering deaths. These survivors are on a wailing mission, fueled by their own guilt for leaving thier so called loved ones behind. They are only thinking of themselves and seeking attention so they can wallow in their self imposed mourning. Would they feel better knowing their loved ones had been left to bake alive, dying in agony, praying for relief that never came, dehydrated, thirsty and abandoned?? I would never ever for any reason have left my mother behind and evacuated (saving my own ass) I don’t care if they stuck a gun down my throat. If I had to carry her out on my back I would have. Sorry, that would never have happened. I would have personally killed her myself before leaving her behind had I had no other options. I commend Dr. Pou and those nurses for their heroic work and what is happening to them is an outrage! How dare anyone not in their shoes following Hurricane Katrina question their actions now. This is just another example of uncaring government leadership putting up a smoke screen to hide it’s own faults. If Dr Pou can be accused then so should President Bush, Micheal Brown, N. O. Mayor, and LA Governor and hospital adminstrators! Next big disaster we will all be in trouble when medical and emergency teams decide saving lives and helping the terminal Ill isn’t worth risking a murder charge. I hope these people are tried in New Orleans courts and judged by peers drawn from New Orleans itself. I doubt if any would find these hero’s guilty.

  • Anonymous

    In response to Steven- please don’t think your words have gone unheard. It is very comforting to know that heakthcare professionals are trusted by some. I am a nurse as is my husband. We stayed for Katrina at a hospital in Jefferson Parish while our children evacuated with family. Our hospital did not suffer the damage that Dr. Pou’s hospital did. We also did not anticipate that it would be 12 days before we saw our family again. We did it because we are dedicated to ur profession and usually find our work rewarding.
    There was nothing that could have prepared us for what we went through, which was like a vacation compared to Pou’s conditions. How anyone can question their “motives” or “mood” is an outrage! They did not choose to stay because they are self serving. They did it because patients are a priority. I like to think that we health care professionals are all in agreement (even those who were not in the area) that it is obsurd to think anyone so dedicated could have had anything but their patients well-being in mind.They were let down by state, local and federal goverment. They were even abondoned by the Tenet Corporation. No one got them help until Thursday night. Let to fend for themselves and their patients with no supplies coming in. No food, no water, no electricity, no IV antibiotics. Nothing! They should be thanked by the family members. And the families should be thanking the man upstairs that they did not run out of morphine and that their family members were kept comfortable. Foti is an embarrassment to the city. He hoped to make a name for himself but he has actually committed political suicide.
    Shame on Mr. Foti. Their will be no pain meds left for you when you are suffering. Healthcare providers will certainly be too afraid to give it to him!
    You words of support are greatly appreciated.
    And for the next storm, I am gone! We will make a vacation out of it and I will be proecting my license!

  • Anonymous

    Steven and Anon evidently haven’t read the affidavit. The family members did not prompt this. A report from another healthcare worker did, as well as self reports from the facility once they learned of it.

  • Anonymous

    The accused healthcare worker was one that ultimately abandoned the facility long before help arrived at the facility. He will face charged of patient abandonment. That is not legal and he is trying to take himself out of the spotlight. I have a great interest in this case and have read every shred of info available.
    As far as the families go- had they taken care of their family like they should have, they would not have been in the facility during the tragedy.

  • Anonymous

    So in your reading of every scrap of information, what did you learn about those families that makes them negligent for not moving on their own a person who a healthcare worker thought it would be easier to kill than move?

    How exactly are they bad people because one of your brethren started killing?

  • Anonymous

    “healthcare worker thought it would be easier to kill than move?

    How exactly are they bad people because one of your brethren started killing? “

    What part of innocent until proven guilty do you not understand????

    I think you are an idiot.

    Somebody PLEASE post a website where friends can offer support to Dr. Pou so we don’t have to wade through this crap.

  • Anonymous

    In response to anon at 1214pm:
    I do not have to read anything about the family except that they had family-And they did because I have heard their statements.
    If the families thought thinfs were too bad to move their loved ones, what did they think conditions were going to be like at the hospitals?
    Who made the decision to move one of the patients in question from the Chalmette facility to the facility 15 miles away(that decision was made on Sunday)that ended up being in worse shape than the one the patient was evacuated from? Charges should be filed against them just for being dumb!
    The families thought they would leave town b/c their “loved ones” were too sick and it would be difficult to travel or that they were not “medically stable”-that is their words- to be moved. If they were not stable to be moved BEFORE the storm, what do you think they were like 4 days after with no water, no a/c, no food? My guess is that they were not looking really good.
    Dr Pou is a hero. The nurses are saints! I hope that my path may cross with theirs one day either professionally or personally so I may shake their hand and let them know that they are appreciated!

  • Anonymous

    I’m still waiting for someone to offer an alternative that would have been more humane. We don’t know all the facts, but reasonable assumption would be that there was no functioning plumbing thus sewage and human waste as well as a water supply had reached critical levels; nutrition was limited or unavailable; without electricity there was no AC (temp of 100 +), no ventilation, no refrigeration for meds, no means of communication to the outside; most of the medical staff had evacuated with the other patients that could be moved; reports had circulated of gunfire in the lobby of the hospital.

    Consider the toll this took on a healthy individual, then translate that to a seriously ill patient that apparently was too complex to be moved. Does anyone honestly believe that Dr Pou and the nurses remained behind so they could “off some patients” and enjoy the ambience? The facts will bare themselves out and I believe that Dr. Pou and her nurses will be exhonerated.

  • Anonymous

    Why would someone in the medicaid fraud division of the AG’s office be at the forefront of this recent media event? Why aren’t all the doctors, nurses, aids, orderlies, and administrators that left the hospital not being charged with abandonment? Why didn’t the people who believed that some impropriety was about to occur make a concerted effort to prevent that occurrence? And since they didn’t try to prevent what they said they knew was going to occur, are they not also a principal party to a crime (if one occurred) as well? In fact, aren’t they more guilty of a crime, because in their frame of mind they believed they knew what was right but failed to prevent the wrong from occurring? Surely, there were enough people on premise of the same mind set to have been able to physically restrain others. A physician’s emergency committal can be issued against a physician and nurses. Why wasn’t that done by the involved parties? Too many questions abound.

  • Anonymous

    I have known Dr. Pou personally for nearly 10 years. She has sat at my dinner table and cried over patients that she and my husband could not save because their cancer was too advanced. She has made sacrifices in her marriage and in not having children in order to devote her life to her patients and career. She could have made much more money in private practice, but she stayed in academics to make a difference. She is a physician who truly has devoted her life to taking care of people. I can tell you from one who knows her on a very personal level that she would not intentionally kill anyone, but she would do whatever she could to alleviate someone’s pain and suffering and that she would work until the last bit of strength was left in her instead of abandoning the ship. I will defend her, because I know her heart.

  • Niteowl

    Who is defending Dr Pou and the nurses?

    Has anyone set up a responsible escrow to defend these poor people from the attack of the politicians out for political blood? if not their attorneys should see to it.


  • kkipnis

    While it is still not clear what exactly took place at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans, there is a distinct argument for the justifiability of euthanasia under what may be comparable circumstances. This argument would be applicable in the context of medical catastrophe. There are more patients than can be handled, the health care delivery system has essentially collapsed, and patients and health care workers are being forced to evacuate.

    During disasters, the flow of patients into a hospital can temporarily exceed its carrying capacity. Doctors will treat patients who will likely live if treated but die if untreated, setting aside those without life-threatening injuries and those who will likely die despite treatment. This last group — “expectant” patients, commonly identified with black tags — will not be abandoned. They may receive ongoing comfort care and, later on, reassessment, especially if they unexpectedly survive the period of scarcity.

    But during, for example, forced military retreats (and, perhaps, massive civilian disasters) health care professionals and their patients can be compelled to evacuate. Should it prove impossible to relocate black-tagged patients, physicians will have only three choices. (1) They can, at personal risk, stay behind with these doomed individuals. There may be little or nothing that can be medically done for them and, by abandoning other treatable patients, health care professionals may be violating obligations toward them. Or (2), they can abandon the black-tagged patients, leaving them to die unmedicated and unattended or, during forced military retreats, in the hands of the enemy. This would violate legal and ethical obligations toward those patients. Or (3), they can beneficently kill expectant patients who cannot be evacuated. Competent patients could opt for abandonment, but those incapable of giving and withholding consent would receive nonvoluntary euthanasia.

    There are two weighty medical norms at issue here: the prohibition against killing patients and the prohibition against abandoning them Where it is impossible to evacuate patients and dangerous and medically futile to remain with them, one of the two norms must give way.

    Even though the problem is common enough to have been noted in military medicine, I am unaware of any authoritative ethical or legal norms that directly address this issue. While, for example, the AMA Code prohibits both abandonment and euthanasia, it is silent on which norm gives way when the two conflict.

    Given this tragic uncertainty, it would seem both compassionate and reasonable to refrain from condemning those who have tried to render honorable assistance under these rare but appalling circumstances, even though they deliberately end the lives of patients.

    Again, I am neither asserting nor conjecturing anything about what was done in New Orleans. As I said, I don’t know.

  • Please think about this

    TRIAGE: a medical concept which most non-medical persons do not understand entirely:

    “The medical screening of patients to determine their relative priority for treatment”

    Medical personnel must look at resources in any situation, and make essential decisions as to whom to treat and whom NOT to treat. The NOT TREATABLE patients are not likely to survive and would consume all of the resources needed for those who COULD survive.

    Dr. Pou’s ICU patients were ventilator dependent, unable to survive without machinery, medications, IV fluids, and constant attention. Dr. Pou and her team were in the middle of what must have seemed like Armageddon. The streets were flooded from a hurricane and broken levees, electricity was down, there was complete chaos outside, and it was deathly hot. She probably had very limited staff, too limited to run an ICU, which requires a lot of staff to run properly, including nurses, MDs, respiratory and xray techs, and assistants. She had to make decisions based on what resources she did have, and this meant that the patients consuming scarce resources had to be given up on to save others.

    The average person, sitting in his or her armchair with CNN on TV anywhere else in America, had the simple luxury of information; Dr. Pou did not have even this. She did not know if or when this would end, when help would arrive, or how long her staff and supplies would hold out. She was in the middle of a major disaster, and the principles of TRIAGE certainly applied there, as it would for any front-line military offensive. Some patients were not save-able in order that others could be save-able, or that even the staff could be saved. Period.

    This probably scares the daylights out of most grain-fed, peace-spoiled, armchair-watching American individuals, but there are situations in which any life, from the homeless to the President, should be expended for the good of others. You cannot simultaneously state that physicians should not play God, and that physicians should do every single thing to save every single patient. If physicians are not God, which we are not, then we acknowledge the fact that we cannot save every life, there are limitations put upon us by our existence in this world.

  • Anonymous

    You can acknowledge the fact that you can’t save every life, however, that doesn’t mean you have to take the person’s life yourself. I don’t know the exact situation this woman found herself in and if these patients were begging her to take their lives, then I can understand her decision. I’ve always been in favor of assisted suicide if that is what the person wants. But I believe its the doctor’s job to keep a rational mind and to keep these people alive as long as possible no matter how hopeless the situation was. And I also do not understand some the previous posters comparisons to putting down a dog in 105 degree heat. These weren’t dogs, they were humans. They had families and they didn’t deserve to die just because some doctor was so overwhelmed in the middle of a crisis that she took it upon herself to decide who should die and who should live, if that is what the case turns out to be.

  • Janis Donahue RN

    Many of you suggest that these women made a “decision” to end the patients’ lives, or euthanize them. Please remember that neglecting to treat pain and other symptoms of suffering is inhumane. If you have ever been truly ill or injured you would know how important it is to treat pain, fear and anxiety etc.
    There is an ethical principle in caring for the ill known as “double effect”. This principle states that it is appropriate to use a treatment to relieve suffering, even if a known but unintended consequence is that it may hasten a patient’s death (Landefeld, C.S. et al, 2004, Current geriatric diagnosis and treatment p.462).
    Healthcare professionals are required by law to treat pain which is now the 5th vital sign. These women did not decide to kill the patients because it was easier than moving them, or for any other reason; they did not kill the patients at all. The patients were humanely treated for pain and suffering and as often happens with critically ill patients, regardless of pain medication, they died. Perhaps these patients may have lived quite a bit longer if there had not been a category 5 storm, but there was a storm and sadly these patients were medically fragile and unable to survive the consequences of the storm. Many previously strong, young, healthy people were unable to survive the storm. It is not fair to withhold pain medication and force someone to suffer just because they are fragile. Think how completely barbaric that would be.
    You should not make the assumption that these women made a “decision” to kill anyone. They have dedicated thier lives to caring, curing, healing, and helping people.
    Janis Donahue RN

  • Anonymous

    A Grand jury found there was a lack of evidence presented by the Orleans District Attorney’s office to support a second degree murder charge in the case of Orleans Parish physician Dr. Anna Pou.

    The men and women of the Grand Jury deserve the respect of the citizens of Orleans Parish, State of Louisiana Attorney Charles Foti.

    I confess. I am not a native of Louisiana. However, I am both a retired member of both the medical profession and the Criminal Justice system (another state, not Louisiana). I have therefore looked objectively at both sides of the argument. I do not personally know the doctor, either of the nurses, the prosecutor, nor any of the other principals in the case. I read many comments as to the doctor’s credentials A copy of Dr. Pou’s medical biography is available on-line and the following is a synopsis from the source: LSU Health Sciences Center

    Dr. Pou, a native of New Orleans, received her medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine. She subsequently completed 2 years of General Surgery training at the University of Tennessee, a residency in Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and a Fellowship in Head and Neck Surgery and Microvascular Reconstruction at Methodist Hospital of Indiana.

    Dr. Pou served on the faculty in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston for 7 where she was the Director, Division of Head and Neck Surgery from 1999 to 2004 and the Co-Director of the Fellowship in Advanced Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery from 1998 to 1999. She joined our faculty in September, 2004 and has recently become the Director, Resident Education.

    Dr. Pou is a diplomat of the American Board of Otolaryngology, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the American Head and Neck Society and the Society of University Otolaryngologists. She has served on multiple committees of the American Academy of Otolaryngology and has presented at national and international meetings on the topics of laryngology, head and neck oncology and microvascular reconstruction. Dr Pou has authored more than 40 publications and has served on editorial boards including the Laryngoscope. In addition she is co-editor of the Head and Neck Section of the widely read textbook, Head and Neck Surgery-Otolaryngology.

    Dr. Pou’s areas of clinical interests include head and neck oncology, microvascular reconstruction, thyroid surgery and rehabilitation of the head and neck cancer patient. Dr. Pou’s research interests also include quality of life issues following treatment for head and neck cancer, the role of viruses in head and neck cancer and the clinical expression of Human Papilloma Virus in recurrent respiratory papillomatosis.

    As a resident of Louisiana by necessity, and not by choice, I would like to just make the following observations.

    First, as a retired medical professional who faced the daunting task of triage-(defined as a process for sorting sick and injured people into groups based on their need for, or likely benefit from, immediate medical treatment. Triage is used in hospital emergency rooms, on battlefields, and in disaster situations when limited medical resources must be allocated.)I can assure those who might feel that the doctors and nurses who make the triage decisions easily and without thought towards the patients, this is not the case. You never want to be the person who decides which sick or injured person must fall into the expendable category, but must because your obligation mandates you to make that decision. I challenge every person who has made uninformed accusations towards the medical professionals who had to make those challenging decisions in the days surrounding Hurricane Katrina to place yourself in the shoes of the person who did. Consider the psychological impact this would have on anyone who has dedicated his or herself to caring for the sick and injured. Secondly, understand that when this patient is placed into your care, even though they have been designated as those who will be left behind and as those who have the least chance of survival in the given situation, each person must be treated with respect, dignity and compassion. They must not be allowed to endure suffering when there is a means to diminish pain and discomfort. This means that the medication available cannot be withheld although that very same medication may increase the patient’s chances of death. To withhold a medication that will reduce pain and suffering in order to prolong life is in direct violation of the very oaths we take and would, in fact, be a punishable offense as a crime of negligence. It is truly a catch twenty-two for any medical professional placed in the situation–face being accused of murder, mercy killing, or euthanasia or face the charge of negligence, or nonfeasance (the failure or omission to do something that should be done or something that one is under a duty or obligation to do.)

    As a former member of the Criminal Justice system, I feel it is imperative that any alleged crime must be investigated. In this case the Attorney General of Louisiana, Charles Foti, a former Orleans Parish Sheriff,New Orleans physician and two nurses were charged with homicide (specifically second degree murder). It should be brought to the attention of everyone what the definition of the charge is, as defined by the State of Louisiana Criminal Code:

    Louisiana Code> Title 14 – Criminal law> RS 14:29 — Homicide

    §29. Homicide

    Homicide is the killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or culpable omission of another. Criminal homicide is of five grades:

    (1) First degree murder.

    (2) Second degree murder.

    (3) Manslaughter.

    (4) Negligent homicide.

    (5) Vehicular homicide.

    Amended by Acts 1973, No. 110, §1; Acts 1978, No. 393, §1; Acts 1983, No. 635, §1.

    Second degree murder is further defined in the code as:

    §30.1.A. Second degree murder is the killing of a human being:

    (1) When the offender has a specific intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm; or

    (2)(a) When the offender is engaged in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of aggravated rape, forcible rape, aggravated arson, aggravated burglary, aggravated kidnapping, second degree kidnapping, aggravated escape, assault by drive-by shooting, armed robbery, first degree robbery, second degree robbery, simple robbery, cruelty to juveniles, second degree cruelty to juveniles, or terrorism, even though he has no intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm.

    (b) When the offender is engaged in the perpetration of cruelty to juveniles, even though he has no intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm.

    (3) When the offender unlawfully distributes or dispenses a controlled dangerous substance listed in Schedules I or II of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law* which is the direct cause of the death of the recipient who ingested or consumed the controlled dangerous substance.

    (4) When the offender unlawfully distributes or dispenses a controlled dangerous substance listed in Schedules I or II of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Law* to another who subsequently distributes or dispenses such controlled dangerous substance which is the direct cause of the death of the person who ingested or consumed the controlled dangerous substance.

    B. Whoever commits the crime of second degree murder shall be punished by life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.

    Added by Acts 1973, No. 111, §1. Amended by Acts 1975, No. 380, §1; Acts 1976, No. 657, §2; Acts 1977, No. 121, §1; Acts 1978, No. 796, §1; Acts 1979, No. 74, §1, eff. June 29, 1979; Acts 1987, No. 465, §1; Acts 1987, No. 653, §1; Acts 1993, No. 496, §1; Acts 1997, No. 563, §1; Acts 1997, No. 899, §1; Acts 2006, No. 53, §1.
    *NOTE: R.S. 40:961 et seq.

    From the information that has been made available through the media it is impossible to say these women committed murder. I have noted several articles which “quote” persons who are “quoting” what they overheard in conversations about what medications would be given patients as Morphine and Ativan, when in fact the AG charges it was Morphine and Versed. So it goes to show that unless you were a juror listening to the testimonies and evidence supplied by the DA and AG’s offices, none of us have any basis on which to pass judgement. I would hope each one of us would stop and consider this the next time we discuss this subject.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t ask anybody and don’t even think of what happened. Nobody knows teh entire siutaion and the terrible conditions these Doctors and Nurses had to work around for so many days, without anymore life-saving equipment that a person would have in the trunk of their car. The idea that a person would try to hang someone out to dry in this situations just appauls me. I’ve been a RN in critical care for almost 25 years, I’ve seen Versed and Morhine 1,000 times together, and have been one of them to use them. Who knows what conditon these patients were in to start with, they may have just needed pain meds and made to be comfortable. Leave it to another Doctor to hang another Doctor or nurse out to dry. Where was this man when all the help was needed, watching the news, then decided he didn’t do enough so he decided this would be best for…who?
    Those Doctors and nurse did the best they could under the conditions,no matter what the
    out-come of a couple patients. One person sits back and decies to try to ruin a few peoples lives in or for pubicity purposes. At least that’s my take on it. Leave them alone and go on with life. Thank God they stayed around and took care of people, that more than most of the other people did when all this happened, we all know who walked out and let the city, those same people eho are supposed to save our lives too
    RN, BSN, MSN.

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    If she was aware of both negligence and active euthanisia, both acts she could be reprimanded for. Then why didn’t she just give non-lethal amounts of morphine to ease their suffering and leave them aside and help those who were savable? I think she did make a mistake – she made a violation of human rights by taking it upon herself and perform non-consentual euthanasia. I think it’s morally justifiable to let one person die if it will save 10 people, but it’s not ok to kill one person to save 10 people.

  • Anonymous

    For those medical personnel who want to close ranks and protect your own regardless of facts, there are several medical experts, including those who specialize in palliative care, who made an unanimous judgment that this needed to go to trial and that charges needed to be brought for homicide. For whatever reason, their reports probably never was seen by the grand jury — they also did not provide testimony. http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/08/26/hospital.grandjury/index.html

    I agree with the last poster…this seems like a case of non-consensual euthanasia. Pou may have thought she was doing the right thing, but there is no evidence that the patients involved gave consent, no evidence that their condition was terminal, no evidence that there was no other choice. That could only be proved when the grand jury was given all the pertinent facts in front of them, and that apparently did not happen. The sad thing is that I’m sure Dr. Pou is a very good doctor and tries to be a good person, but this cloud will hang over her forever — and she’s not out of the woods as far as civil charges.

    And as for you exceptionally nasty people casting blame on the patients’ families for abandoning them, in at least two cases – Elaine Nelson, and Wilda Faye Sims-McManus – their daughters remained at their side throughout Katrina until the police came in and forcibly removed “non essential personnel” and all others. You should be ashamed of your vile accusations against these people who have already suffered such a loss.

    This absolutely should have gone to trial. If these people had asked for assisted suicide, if their condition had gone down, if the situation was so dire that there was no chance of evacuation, then a trial could bring exoneration. That’s why we have courts, laws, the Hippocratic Oath. You don’t get to decide that because you had one horrendous emergency, because you were there and I was not, that your choices are above my scrutiny and that of the law! Talk about a God complex.

    Otherwise, the question remains: how do we KNOW that there was no way these people could have been evacuated? how do we KNOW they would have died anyways? how do we KNOW these people were not murdered without knowledge of what was about to happen to them? how was this decision made and who takes responsibility? Ask yourself: are we absolutely sure there was no way to get them out? Since I also lived through Rita, claiming that you were there and others who weren’t there can’t judge you – sorry, again – that doesn’t mean you escape legal and moral scrutiny.

    As someone who has been a patient and in health care and emergency management, I am shocked by the cavalier assumption that there was no other choice. If it were me, my Aunt Ida or any other person, it would ALWAYS be more moral to pick the CHANCE of a person possibly dying during evacuation than the CERTAINTY of deciding to end their life for them — particularly without the patient’s permission or knowledge.

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