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    1) Why did the hospital decide to turn to people away?

    The hospital was flooded, lost power, and faced extreme conditions for five days, during which doctors and nurses struggled to care for hundreds of patients and evacuate them to safety.

    According to the series, the hospital decided to turn people in need away because they had no resources or space to accommodate them. The hospital was running out of food, water, oxygen, medications, and generators. The staff was exhausted, overwhelmed, and traumatized by the situation. The communication with the outside world was limited and unreliable. The evacuation process was slow and chaotic. The hospital was surrounded by floodwaters and looters. The patients were suffering and dying.

    The series also explore the controversial allegations that some doctors and nurses at the hospital euthanized some of their patients who were deemed too sick or too old to survive or be evacuated. Dr. Anna Pou, a surgeon who was working at the hospital during the storm, was accused of injecting lethal doses of morphine and midazolam to some patients on the seventh floor of the hospital.

    Was race a factor in this decision? Why or Why not?

    Race may have been a factor in the decision to turn people in need away at Memorial, but it is not clear to what extent or how consciously. According to the series, the hospital staff faced a dilemma of how to prioritize patients for evacuation when they had limited resources, time, and information. They used a system of color-coded tags to classify patients based on their medical condition and likelihood of survival. However, this system was not standardized or consistent, and it may have been influenced by implicit or explicit biases of the staff.

    Some critics and observers have argued that the hospital staff discriminated against patients based on their race, class, age, or disability. They pointed out that most of the patients who died or were allegedly euthanized were black, poor, elderly, or chronically ill. They also noted that some of the staff made derogatory remarks about the patients or their families, or expressed fear or distrust of the predominantly black population outside the hospital. They suggested that the hospital staff may have devalued the lives of these patients or assumed that they had less chance of recovery or quality of life.

    However, some defenders and supporters have argued that the hospital staff did not discriminate against patients based on their race, class, age, or disability. They pointed out that most of the patients who died or were allegedly euthanized were on the seventh floor of the hospital, where Life Care operated a long-term acute care unit for critically ill patients who required ventilators or dialysis. They also noted that some of the staff risked their lives to save or comfort these patients, or expressed remorse or guilt for their actions or inactions. They suggested that the hospital staff may have acted out of compassion or desperation, or followed their professional judgment or ethical principles.

    The series do not provide a definitive answer to whether race was a factor in the decision to turn people in need away at Memorial. They present different perspectives and evidence on the issue, but they also acknowledge the complexity and ambiguity of the situation. They show that race may have interacted with other factors, such as medical condition, availability of resources, communication breakdown, legal uncertainty, emotional stress, and moral dilemma.

    2) Was it necessary to euthanize the pets left at the hospital? What alternatives existed given the chaos?

    The decision to euthanize the pets left at the hospital was a difficult and controversial one. According to the series and the book, the hospital staff had to evacuate hundreds of patients and themselves from the flooded building, and they had no means or space to transport the animals that some of them had brought with them or rescued from the streets. They also feared that the animals would suffer or die alone if they left them behind, or that they would pose a health or safety risk to others.

    Some of the staff members decided to euthanize the pets as a last resort, believing that it was the most humane and responsible thing to do. They used drugs such as morphine or midazolam to inject the animals and end their lives peacefully. They also said prayers or blessings for the animals and buried them in a makeshift cemetery outside the hospital.

    However, some of the staff members disagreed with or regretted the decision to euthanize the pets. They argued that it was unnecessary, cruel, or unethical to kill the animals. They suggested that there could have been other alternatives, such as leaving food and water for the animals, finding other people or organizations to take care of them, or trying to reunite them with their owners later. They also expressed grief or guilt for losing their companions or betraying their trust.

    The series do not judge or justify the decision to euthanize the pets at Memorial. They show that it was a complex and emotional issue that reflected the desperation and compassion of the staff. They also show that it was one of many hard choices that the staff had to make during those five days.

    3) It is possible to hold the view that Merle Lagasse is dying of cancer and that she is somebody’s mother, but it may require a different perspective or attitude than the ones held by Dr. Cook and nurse Kathy Green. Dr. Cook seems to view Merle Lagasse as a terminal patient who has no chance of survival and who is taking up valuable resources and space that could be used for other patients. He does not seem to consider her as a person with a family or a history. Nurse Kathy Green seems to view Merle Lagasse as a mother who deserves respect and dignity and who has a right to live as long as possible. She does not seem to consider her as a patient with a medical condition or a prognosis.

    Both views may have some validity, but they may also be incomplete or biased. A more balanced view may be to acknowledge that Merle Lagasse is both dying of cancer and somebody’s mother, and that these aspects of her identity do not cancel each other out. She may still have some hope or quality of life, even if her chances of recovery are slim. She may still have some pain or suffering, even if her family loves her and cares for her. She may still have some dignity or autonomy, even if her condition requires medical intervention or assistance.

    Holding such a view may require more empathy, compassion, and communication from the staff. It may also require more collaboration, cooperation, and compromise among the staff. It may not be easy or comfortable to hold such a view, especially in a crisis situation like the one at Memorial. However, it may be more respectful and ethical to hold such a view than to reduce Merle Lagasse to either a dying patient or somebody’s mother.

    4) Mark and Sandra evacuated Vera LeBlanc, Mark’s mother, from Life Care Hospital during Hurricane Katrina. They arrived at Memorial Hospital in an airboat and took Vera and a few other patients with them despite the opposition of the hospital staffs. Vera died four days later and the LeBlancs blamed Tenet, the parent company of Memorial, for her death.

    Some of the factors that continue to plague communications during this disaster are:

    Damage to cables and satellites due to strong winds, flooding, or seismic activity that disrupt the connectivity between cellular towers and wireless links.
    Network congestion and jamming due to high demand for communication services or intentional interference by hackers or malicious actors.

    Information disorders such as false or harmful information that spread through social media or other platforms and affect people’s perception, fear, anxiety, and behavior.

    Gaps in disaster communication plan such as technical or complex instructions, inadequate methods of dissemination, or lack of consideration for demographics and individual characteristics of the target populations.

    Perceptions and beliefs of the people who receive the communication, such as their previous experience with a hazard, their proximity and risk assessment, their trust in the source, and their social norms and values.

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