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    Tina Vaillancourt

    1. It is hard not to disagree with the sentiments expressed by the columnist’s question. After all, New Orleans is a city at sea level and a crisis like this was somewhat predictable. I also think the question is a little unfair because it is easy to second-guess people with the benefit of hindsight. I believe that the doctors and nurses at Memorial all had the best interests of the patients in mind and, while they may have responded to the crisis in different ways, I think if they could have truly predicted such a catastrophe then they would have implemented plans in advance.

    2. John Thiele’s perspective of the storm and their circumstances at Memorial was that he thought for sure that he wasn’t going to make it out or survive. He called his family and told them to prepare for the worst, telling them that he may never see them again. John Thiele was ultimately able to feel it was right to smother a man after he had been rescued because the reality of the situation told him that the man would never survive. We he landed at the airport there were thousands of people who were hungry, thirsty, soaking wet and without their medications. There was a skeleton crew of Disaster medical assistance team members that could not take care for all these people. That night he heard the moans and screams of people dying he felt that if the patients he had euthanized at Memorial had come here they would have certainly suffered and died. Ultimately, he felt he had spared them.

    3. The book demonstrates that end-of-life preferences are subject to interpretation often centering around religion, consent and medical conditions. The issue of consent seemed to be the most important factor for most people. Even strongly religious people like Special Agent Rider could understand how some of the sickest patients at Memorial would have preferred to be euthanized despite it was against her Catholic beliefs. Her support for the work of Dr. Kevorkian demonstrates the flexibility in her thinking. Schafer also seemed to be able to push aside his personal religious beliefs on the issue of assisted suicide, provided that the patient gave consent. The notion of doctors acting without patient consent (as with Everett) is what seemed to offend his religious principles. For others, religious principles were the guiding factor. As the daughter of one of the patients stated, she would have peace as long as her mother’s death was “God’s will”.

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