Louisiana Attorney General Charles C. Foti, Jr., announced that his Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) has made three arrests in the investigation surrounding patient deaths at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans. The investigation involves allegations that some doctors and nurses administered lethal doses of the drugs morphine and/or midazolam to several patients who were in the long term care unit, operated by Lifecare Hospitals, on the seventh floor of Memorial Medical Center.
The alleged incidents took place in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, on Sept. 1, 2005. MFCU investigators allege that Dr. Anna Pou with the assistance of two nurses, Lori Budo and Cheri Landry, administered lethal injections to some patients as evacuations of the hospital were occurring.
The following arrests were made July 18:
–Dr. Anna M. Pou -Charged as a principal with four counts of Second Degree Murder, as defined by La. R.S. 14:(24)30.1, by intentionally administering lethal doses of morphine and/or midazolam to four Lifecare patients.
–Lori Budo – Charged as a principal with four counts of Second Degree Murder, as defined by La. R.S. 14:(24)30.1, by intentionally administering lethal doses of morphine and/or midazolam to the same four victims.
–Cheri Landry – Charged as a principal with four counts of Second Degree Murder, as defined by La. R.S. 14:(24)30.1, by intentionally administering lethal doses of morphine and/or midazolam to the same four victims.
Autopsies were performed on the four victims listed above by the Disaster Mortuary Operations Team (DMORT) and various tissue samples were taken including liver, brain and muscle. Purge fluids were also collected from the victims’ bodies. The samples were then sent to National Medical Services for testing.
Test results were positive for both morphine and midazolam. The results and victims’ medical records were then sent to a forensic pathologist for review. Conclusions by experts were that none of the victims were administered morphine or midazolam for routine pharmaceutical care requirements but had received a lethal dose of these drugs.
Attorney General Foti issued the following statement in response to the arrests:
“I believe this case is a strong one and that these charges are based on sound legal and medical evidence. I also believe that there may be more arrests and victims that cannot be mentioned at this time and that this case is not over yet. While I am aware of the horrendous conditions that existed after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans and left so many stranded without food, water, electricity and the basic necessities, I believe that there is no excuse for intentionally killing another living human being. The fact is, the law was broken and it is my job to seek justice for the victims in this case. It gives me no pleasure to report what happened here today and my heart goes out to the families and loved ones of those victims.”
Foti also thanked the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Investigation, for their assistance in this case.
Source: Louisiana Attorney General’s Office
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