Bad Medicine

This afternoon Louisiana Attorney General Charles C. Foti Jr. held a news conference in which he said a doctor and two nurses have been arrested on suspicion of killing four patients at a New Orleans hospital during the hours after Hurricane Katrina hit that city. Dr. Anna Pou and nurses Cheri Landry and Lori Budo are being accused of shooting up their patients with lethal doses of morphine and the sedative Versed, because, Pou allegedly told a colleague, it would be easier to kill them than move them. It's a story CNN's been on since October.

Turns out that the New Orleans hospital, Memorial Medical Center, is operated by Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corporation, whose officials, reports The New York Times, have confirmed finding "45 bodies at the hospital two weeks after the storm." Only they were so decomposed, says the Associated Press in a separate story, that "the deaths could only be listed as 'Katrina-related.'" Tenet officials also insist that 10 of the 45 died before the storm. And what else does Tenet have to say for itself? This, says The Times:

"A statement from the Tenet Healthcare Corporation called the accusations that the three might have administered pain medication to hasten the deaths of certain patients 'disturbing.'"

Jesus, ya think? And could the timing be worse? Today--today--Tenet issued a press release announcing it's selling three hospitals to Ochsner Health System of New Orleans. The names of the hospitals are the Kenner Regional Medical Center in Kenner, Meadowcrest Hospital in Gretna and...yeah, you guessed it, Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans. --Robert Wilonsky