Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Voices of Reason from New Orleans

Welcome news today from New Orleans! More than a year since Dr. Anna Pou was arrested for alleged euthanasia of elderly patients suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans grand jury today reached their verdict--and wisely declined to indict Dr. Pou.

In gracious remarks, Dr. Pou stated, "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."

Today, the New York Times also reported on the loss of major hospitals and health infrastructure in New Orleans since Katrina, as well as the exodus of doctors. This is no great surprise after the witch hunt that has haunted Dr. Pou and her other colleagues who bravely stayed to care for their patients. Some other generous souls are also trying to help rebuild their city--an inspiring story concerns the Common Ground Free Clinic, whose volunteers are doing more to rebuild their community than any of the too visible politicians.

Perhaps now the attention can return to the real criminals in Katrina--the politicians and irresponsible officials who abandoned the city's most vulnerable citizens during the crisis. Hopefully, they will be held accountable for their gross failures and negligence. . .and Dr. Pou can return to once again caring for her patients.