Discussion – week 13

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    Rachel Vargo

    1) Both the article and book highlight the fact that the abandonment by the government and failed rescue efforts ultimately caused them to be in that situation. The conditions described put into perspective for the average citizen how incredibly tough and courageous the doctors and nurses who stayed were, and why they should be viewed as heroes instead of criminals. To me, the article makes it seem Foti, as an outsider, is the only one who strongly believes it was murder. He also exhibits a closed mind-set to the many things out of their control at Memorial that ended them in such conditions to make those types of decisions.

    2) The murder statistics were important to include because it shows how ridiculous it is that they were so adamant to put Dr. Pou and the 2 nurses in jail when only 1/3 of the city’s murders were followed by arrests. They even had a saying “60 days and I’m out” for those that were arrested. It’s upsetting that they wasted so much time trying to prove the Memorial case while so many murderers in New Orleans were just walking free, and their situations were not even remotely similar to the ones Pou faced. It is obvious personal feelings were involved in the drive to have these women convicted considering the lack of care for any other murders that occurred on a frequent basis.

    3) The episode of Boston Legal ultimately gave a great breakdown of the situation for the public. After many news channels aired simply stating “doctor and nurses possibly murdered patients”, many people were very upset but had little to no facts or knowledge of the situation. The episode presented an identical case but made sure to emphasize the environment at Memorial and what their limited options were when it came to the last remaining patients. I found it funny how similar the characters’ names were in the episode compared to the individuals involved at Memorial. For example, the patient Emmett Everett was named Elliot in the show. I definitely think that episode airing played a huge factor in Dr. Pou not being convicted of murder.

    4) The Nazis began mercy killing to save money and resources, but obviously this idea went haywire and ended up leading to mass genocide. Similar to saying “when you give someone an inch, they’ll take a mile”, allowing mercy killing gives people the opportunity to find loopholes and commit murders with evil intent. On the debate of euthanasia, some argue we should extend to terminally ill people what few people would deny their animals, regardless of their inability to express the wish to die. This is contradicted with the idea that people have the right to decide what doctors do to them, and being involuntarily euthanized allows the physician to judge what quality of life is acceptable to another human being.

    5) Originally the AMA had no guidelines for comfort care in disasters. Caplan sees that patients that weren’t terminally ill were given a sudden high dose of lethal medication with no records being kept. In his opinion, if the goal was to ease pain and suffering, he would expect to see meds given gradually at much lower doses while keeping records. At the annual AMA conference, they discussed whether and how normal medical standards should be altered in disasters. They voted to create legislation to protect doctors in disasters from prosecution and would also strengthen existing efforts to oppose criminal prosecution of doctors, especially during emergencies.

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