What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

The video for this story is not available, but you can still read the transcript below.
No image

Reports Raise Concerns About Patient Euthanasia After Hurricane Katrina

Recent controversial reports said five elderly and terminally ill patients who were abandoned and proclaimed dead in a New Orleans hospital immediately after Hurricane Katrina were euthanized by the hospital staff.

Read the Full Transcript

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Now, the investigation into whether hospital patients in New Orleans were euthanized in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. NewsHour correspondent Tom Bearden reports.

  • TOM BEARDEN, NewsHour Correspondent:

    Angela McManus is still searching for answers about why her 70-year-old mother was among thousands of casualties of Hurricane Katrina.

    ANGELA MCMANUS, Daughter of Hurricane Katrina Victim: Cause of death was Hurricane Katrina-related death.

  • TOM BEARDEN:

    That's what's on her death certificate?

  • ANGELA MCMANUS:

    That's what's on her death certificate.

  • TOM BEARDEN:

    McManus and her mother, Wilda Faye, lived in this house in New Orleans. It now sits vacant except for the vagrants who frequently break in and do damage.

    A year ago, her mother was hospitalized for complications from rectal cancer. McManus was given a bed next to her mother at the Memorial Medical Center and remained by her side. They rode out the storm together on the seventh floor, which the corporate owner, Tenet Healthcare, had leased to a separate long-term care company called LifeCare.

  • ANGELA MCMANUS:

    After the hurricane, they tried to implement an evacuation plan. First day, nobody's coming. And the second day, a couple boats came in. The third day is when the helicopters started coming in.

  • TOM BEARDEN:

    But soon it became apparent that Wilda Faye McManus and many of the other LifeCare patients would not be evacuated.

  • ANGELA MCMANUS:

    The NOPD comes up and…

  • TOM BEARDEN:

    The police department?

  • ANGELA MCMANUS:

    Yes, and they had these little sawed-off shotguns, or rifles, or whatever. And they said, "You have to go. We're evacuating the hospital. You have to go now."

    So I woke my mom up and I told her I had to leave her, and she screamed, and screamed, and screamed. I said, "Well, they said they're going to get you out of here." And I lied, because there's no way I thought with a sane mind that they were going — weren't going to actually take her out. I had heard some nurses saying that the DNR patients weren't going to be rescued.

  • TOM BEARDEN:

    The "do not resuscitate" patients?

  • ANGELA MCMANUS:

    Correct. But with a sane mind, I didn't believe them. They wouldn't be able to leave live patients in a hospital.

  • TOM BEARDEN:

    Was your mother a DNR patient?

  • ANGELA MCMANUS:

    Yes, she was. It means "do not resuscitate." It doesn't mean "do not rescue."