I don’t profess to know what happened at hospitals in the chaos following Hurricane Katrina, but I am pretty pissed that a doctor and 2 nurses who showed incredible grit and compassion have now been arrested on charges of murder.
We’ve heard from reasonable sources of doctors basically risking their own lives for other people, putting themselves on IV fluids to keep working, and fending off their hospitals from desperately irate people. I suggest that in such moments of unimaginable struggle, they should be thanked, not arrested, for putting extremely ill people out of their misery.
Plenty of healthy people died in Katrina and her aftermath, but these were people who were not long for this world. It’s likely to me that the only compassionate thing to do was to end these people’s lives humanely and painlessly. I’m all for raging, raging, against the dying of the light, but we have a seriously screwed up priority system when we believe that dragging people’s lives out as long as possible at any cost is the way to go. We need to factor dignity and comfort into this equation.
I know that if one of my parents was desperately ill in the hospital during such an emergency, and I couldn’t get them out, that I know there’s a good chance I would be aware that they may die in the coming days. That’s how it goes sometimes. I would hate missing the chance to say goodbye, and although I don’t know for sure how I’d respond, I feel almost completely certain that I would thank the doctors for showing mercy toward my loved one and would lobby to drop any charges against them.
I sure as hell wouldn’t claim that they were playing God, as
Sheriff LA Attorney General Charles Foti said.
Full disclosure: the pic on this page is of the house directly across the street, where our infirm neighbor died during shortly after the storm. Could I be held for negligent homicide? Well, if so, her entire family, who tried and failed to get her to leave, as well as several other neighbors could be too. I wish I or someone had been there to give her an injection and end it, instead of letting her die of heat, thirst, starvation, or whatever it was that did her in while we were away. They didn’t even recover the body until we called the police, several weeks after she died.
It’s a big day for life-and-law events, as I hope to post on soon.