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Monday, August 27th 2007

Did They Make THe Ana Pou Case Go Away?

I never did follow Dr. Pou’s case too closely. She was the ENT doc, who during Katrina was accused of euthanizing, or at least helping along, the deaths of several patients at a New Orleans area hospital.

The state’s attorney backed away from the accusations after a grand jury failed to indict Dr. Pou. However, now questions are coming out concerning if the DA stuffed away the opinions and reports of the physicians he brought in as experts. Five experts who all agreed that the deaths represented homicides.

[A]ll five forensic specialists believe the medical evidence warranted a trial. All five said that the medical charts, toxicology and autopsy reports they reviewed indicate that deliberate overdoses the pain killer morphine and the sedative Versed led to the deaths of the nine patients.

[...]

“Accidental overdoses would need to have occurred nine times between 12 noon and 3:30 p.m., all on one floor, to every patient who was left on the floor,” Young wrote. ” Again, it is noted that morphine was not ordered for seven of the patients and Versed was not ordered for any. Therefore it seems highly unlikely that nine patients died on the same floor on the same afternoon of accidental overdose.”

Did the grand jury considering the case even see the reports filed by these forensic experts? They certainly never heard them testify.

In a decision that puzzled the five experts hired by the state, New Orleans District Attorney Eddie Jordan never called them to testify before the grand jury. What remains unclear, because of grand jury secrecy laws, is whether the grand jury even saw the experts’ written reports.

It certainly sounds very fishy. It seemed to me that a lot of medicine, at least the population in the health care community that is online, rushed to Dr. Pou’s defense following Katrina. Indeed, I appluaded the charges being dropped. But I was clearly negligent in delving into the details of the case, and a story like this makes you wonder.


Pretty Strong Accusations

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