The Strong Did Not Stumble
During the aftermath of Katrina, there was no electrical power. For five days Memorial Medical was isolated by flood waters, with no rescue in sight. Nursing and medical staff were exhausted, spent. Profoundly ill patients were rapidly deteriorating in horrid 110 degree heat and humidity. At least 40 patients ultimately died at the eight story, 317 bed hospital, which turned into a sweltering refuge for hospital staff, their families and patients.
Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti Jr.'s allegations that Dr. Anna Pou and nurses Lori Budo and Cheri Landry were conspirators in the second degree murder of four critically ill patients was a stark reminder of the responsibility placed on health care workers in dire circumstances. The integrity entrusted to professional health care providers is only needed more at those times.
The DA had already declined to prosecute the nurses, in order to compel them to testify before the grand jury, granting them immunity, and leaving Dr. Pou as the only person accused of murder. Today an Orleans Parish grand jury refused to indict Dr. Anna Pou.
Last week, Dr. Pou brought suit against Charles Foti, stating he played politics with the dead of Hurricane Katrina and with her career, making her a scapegoat in an attempt to direct scrutiny away from the incompetence of many others in the blame days following the disaster.
Good show Dr. Pou. Give them hell. May your place never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
From The Dr. Anna Pou Defense Fund:
Statement by Dr. Anna Pou
July 24, 2007 - CNN
The last 23 months have been very challenging and painful not only for Cherie, Lori and me but also for our families and the family members of those who died at Memorial Hospital during and following Hurricane Katrina. This is not a moment of triumph, but a moment of remembrance for all those who lost their lives during the storm.
We need to remember the magnitude of human suffering that occurred in the city of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina so that we can ensure that this never happens again— and that no health care professional should ever go through this again.
I hope to return to work, doing what I love to do best and hope that the city and medical community continue to heal now that this is behind us.
I would like to thank everyone who has supported me through this trying time—my family, friends, colleagues, patients and total strangers—for their generosity, their love and their prayers and I ask that they continue to pray for all victims of the storm, for our city and for us, as we try to rebuild our lives.
Statement by Rick Simmons
July 24, 2007 - CNN
An Orleans Parish Grand Jury returned a “No True Bill” to allegations against Dr. Anna Pou brought to District Attorney Jordan by Attorney General Charles Foti. This finding by the Grand Jury fully and completely vindicates Dr. Pou of any criminal wrong doing in the wake of a miserably inept response by government at all levels to Hurricane Katrina.
For Dr. Pou and her family, today’s announcement represents the end of 23 months of pain and uncertainty, the hallmarks of which include suffering along with her colleagues, acutely ill patients, and far too many others in the sweltering heat and chaos of Memorial Hospital while local, state and federal governments wrestled and wrangled and twiddled their thumbs as more than forty people succumbed to third world conditions inside the hospital.
Another hallmark of the past 23 months for Anna includes emerging from a day long cancer surgery at Baton Rouge's Earl K. Long Charity Hospital only to be arrested as a common criminal; despite a prior agreement with the Attorney General that she would be allowed the dignity of self-surrender should an arrest become a reality. It should long be noted by anyone who questions the character of Dr. Pou that once arrested; she used her only telephone call to make arrangements for another physician to attend to her cancer surgery patient in her absence.
Yet another hallmark of these past 23 months came just hours after her arrest when Dr. Pou's mug shot was splayed across the screens of televisions around the country with the words "accused of murder" imprinted beneath it. Clearly, for Dr. Pou, it’s been a helluva 23 months.
Today’s events offer no comfort whatsoever for those whose loved ones perished at Memorial Hospital under circumstances falsely described by the state's Attorney General as murder.
The sad reality is that Mr. Foti has done a terrible injustice to the families of those who died at Memorial and other hospitals by building false expectations of having all the answers and by rushing to judge three of the most respected and dedicated medical professionals this city has ever known. It should not be lost on anyone that those who lost loved ones at Memorial suffer still while their search for answers goes on. Our hearts go out to them.
Our thanks go to the Grand Jury, to District Attorney Jordan for viewing this case impartially and to all who have shown such generous support for Dr. Pou for so long.
Counsel for Dr. Anna Pou
New Orleans, LA
July 24, 2007
The Man in the Arena- T. Roosevelt