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.
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.
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 rÃ©sumÃ© 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.”
This page on Dr. Anna Pou will be continually updated as the story develops.