Investigation of Hurricane Katrina Euthanasia Deaths Closed, No Charges

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 7, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Investigation of Hurricane Katrina Euthanasia Deaths Closed, No Charges Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 7,

New Orleans, LA ( — The investigation into the suspicious deaths of patients at a hospital in New Orleans during the brutal aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has been closed. A representative of the Louisiana attorney general’s office confirmed that no charges will be filed against two nurses or a doctor in the case.

"The attorney general’s investigation is closed, there is no continuing investigation, no one is targeted," Assistant Attorney General Julie Cullen said Monday. "This case is closed.’"

Orleans Parish Assistant District Attorney Michael Morales agreed and said the case against Dr. Anna Pou concluded on July 24 when a grand jury refused to return any indictments against her.

Attorney General Charles Foti said the case would continue and that he wasn’t satisfied with the grand jury’s actions, but his official said Monday the case is over.

"I’m glad to finally have the attorney general on the record that the case is closed," Pou’s attorney Rick Simmons told AP in response.

Four patients were alleged to have been killed via euthanasia in the wake of the storm and two nurses, Cheri Landry and Lori Budo, saw their charges dismissed when they agreed to testify before a grand jury.

Just before the decision not to charge Pou, hundreds of New Orleans residents protested against the investigation. Pou was not at the rally, but Budo and Landry were in the crowd.

Pou has filed a lawsuit against the state of Louisiana and Foti for putting her under investigation for so long but bringing no charges in the case. But Foti’s office says he is not named in the lawsuit.

On Monday, lawyers for Foti asked District Judge Calvin Johnson to unseal documents related to the investigation. While Foti doesn’t plan to pursue any charges, he wants the documents from the probe unsealed.

Detractors say it’s because Foti wants to justify his probe but his attorneys say it has to do with the many Freedom of Information requests his office has received.

Johnson will rule on that request on August 16 but said some of the material must remain sealed because it is out of his jurisdiction.

Foti spokeswoman Kris Wartelle questioned the motives of attorneys for the nurses and Pou and others who have asked that the documents remain sealed.

"What don’t they want you to know?" Wartelle told reporters outside the courthouse. "What don’t they want you to see?"