Article – The Deadly Choices at Memorial

Buy some 10/22 or Pmag mags, kids. I got surgeons bills to pay.
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The smell of death was overpowering the moment a relief worker cracked open one of the hospital chapel’s wooden doors. Inside, more than a dozen bodies lay motionless on low cots and on the ground, shrouded in white sheets. Here, a wisp of gray hair peeked out. There, a knee was flung akimbo. A pallid hand reached across a blue gown.

Wikipedia entry.

An old article I found buried in a blog post. Having spent a night or two in the hospital as of late, I am kind of interested in the sorts of disaster planning that goes on. Hospitals, as opposed to, say, long term care facilities, clearly have different budgets and requirements. I do recall that some states mandate a certain amount of emergency food (Mountain House, in case you didnt know, actually sells a special line of regulation-compliant meals just for this sort of thing), generators, or that sort of thing, there’s always that big question of what to do when the power goes out, the looting starts, and grandma is trapped in Shady Acres on the other side of town.

On the one hand, it’s hard to argue that in an environment like that there weren’t going to be cases where there was nothing else to do but watch someone die. On the other hand, while I have no trouble with someone wanting to die of their own volition, I have a problem with a medical professional making that decision for someone else.

The article, though eight years old, is a real edge-of-your-seat read and definitely worth reading if you’re in the health field.

 

17 thoughts on “Article – The Deadly Choices at Memorial

  1. Hello Zero,
    I have been a member of the Alaska Partnership for Infrastructure Protection (APIP) https://ready.alaska.gov/APIP since 2006. I can tell you first hand that Alaska hospitals are prepared for, have exercised, and can cope with major disasters. I am confident that your local hospitals have some plans in place as well. You might ask one of their public information officers. The hospitals participate in the federal medical Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) which is the United States’ national repository of antibiotics, vaccines, chemical antidotes, antitoxins, and other critical medical equipment and supplies. The real question is how long their generators can run in the event of a disaster. The US Corps of Engineers has large portable generators that they can deliver quickly and at least in Anchorage the hospitals have the right plug to accept the feed.

    Best
    George

  2. People who die because their vent batteries ran out, and you can’t bag all of them for days, just died.

    People who die because you shot them full of morphine and Versed were simply murdered.
    These were ghouls, not health care workers.
    Those murderers should be stripped of their licenses and sent to prison.

    And, what a shock, it was Tenet running that abattoir.

    This is before we get into the multitude of asinine decisions, like putting power switches at sea level on the ground, or making the helicopter ramp inaccessible.

    FWIW, most hospital preparedness plans are just that – plans.
    In reality, when SHTF, the average hospital is even worse-prepared than the average Larry Lunchmeat never-prepper family to deal with it.

    Plan accordingly. And if you need care in trying times, pray it’s a local or regional disaster, and GTFO. The best defense is 500 miles of road – behind you.

    • The Doctors didn’t work directly for Tenet!! Most of the Nurses also work through third party companies. Tenet managed the hospital. Tenet has completely change how they prepare for hurricanes as a result of Katrina experience.

      • Uh huh.

        Tenet’s circus; Tenet’s monkeys.

        The nurses in the article who didn’t work for Tenet were the ones in the separate entity’s unit aghast that Tenet’s people were talking (and practicing, self-evidently) manslaughter posing as euthanasia.

        And everybody’s doc’s are sub-contractors. When the company (any company) likes what they do, they’re “our doctors”. When they kill patients deliberately, they’re always “those @$$holes”. That’s how the game is played.

        Hurricanes have been around since before Columbus landed. But I’m to believe that now, despite decades of screw-ups by everyone, every time, including killing eight or more patients deliberately, Tenet’s finally got a handle on disaster planning, and I should believe you instead of my lying eyes, and their documented reputation, pretty much everywhere.

        Drink the Kool-Aid.
        You go, Charlie Brown! Lucy will hold the football right where it is this time.

        Good grief!

  3. The document you can D/L at this link

    https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/24879

    Planning Guidance for a Response to a Nuclear Detonation

    Has some info on changes to or acknowledgement of the reality of triage. New model, described starting on page 86.

    “Immediately after an incident, when resources are scarce at locations

    closest to ground zero, emergency responders and first receivers will likely have to modify
    conventional standards of care and initiate contingency or crisis standards until shortages of
    medical staffing, logistics, and infrastructure assets improve.”

    Also, they acknowledge that normal radiation exposure rules will be greatly relaxed, and there will be people who sacrifice themselves despite the rules.

    The whole thing is worth reading.

    nick

    • “Crisis standards of care” never never includes abandonment or involuntary euthanasia, AKA manslaughter, as the baseline paradigm.

      Killing people is killing people: there’s never enough lipstick for that pig, and there’s always an investigation afterwards.

      That the State of LA has let these @$$clown ghouls walks free all this time and retain their licenses to practice is unbelievable, and just begs for some next-of-kin family member to do a little herd-culling of their own.

      Seriously, doc, you and some nurses there thought a hurricane’s aftermath, that left 97% of the country completely unaffected, justified killing eight or ten people outright?
      The most defenseless people entrusted to your care?
      Can you show me where and when you were taught that…what policy manual…what ethics discussion…over whose authorizing signature…???

      • Sadly its done everyday in this country with terminal patients. They constantly increase the amount of morphine or other types of medication for pain management. The end result is the patient is actually dying from overdosing not the terminal condition. I watch them do this with my mother and morphine, she was suffering from terminal cancer. So, what do you do? Do you let them suffer or turn a blind eye to the increase in meds for the pain, knowing that the meds will kill them before the cancer.

        • Thanks for clearing that up; I’m a registered nurse with only two and a half decades in critical care, pass the exact meds described and care for the exact same type of patients mentioned in the article daily, and yet I was completely unaware of any of the issues I was addressing.

          But thanks for conflating hospice pain management for terminal patients with murdering non-terminal patients under no imminent threat of dying, because their further care was burdensome, the disaster preparations were criminally negligent, and they were completely unable to care for them any longer because it was hot and humid, in Louisiana, and who could have predicted that?

          It’s not like there were multiple days of warnings – when the power was still on – that a Cat V hurricane was headed straight for the city, nor orders from everyone from the governor to the dog catcher that everyone who could should evacuate, or anything like, right?

          I don’t know about you, but if I tried to shovel that much bullshit in one paragraph, my back would hurt.

  4. I worked with a nurse who had worked in New Orleans during Katrina and then afterwards in the new facilities.

    She had pictures of the new med room where she had worked, and on the wall in an In Caee Of Emergency Break Glass-type case were an axe, crowbar and sledgehammer.

    When power went out her and her shift could not get meds out of the electrically powered Pyxis (essentially a narcotic loaded ATM), they used chair legs to beat the machine open to get the meds they needed.

    When the facility was re-built, they geared up with something a bit more purposeful and efficient; forcible entry tools.

    • “a narcotic loaded ATM”
      I am so stealing that.

      “forcible entry tool”
      The few people who know, ask why I have such items in the car. I say “Just in case”.

    • Hospitals make everything higher- and higher-tech, and forget that the electric wall plugs become a single point of failure.

      Besides experience in hospitals all around the Northridge earthquake, one hospital I worked in was expanding their parking structure. The construction crew sawed through the hospital power mains. Which also cut the power mains to the back-up generator. This was years before Katrina.

      It was like kicking over an ant hill.

      Most of us carry those tools in our cars already, for the same reason: they can open all sorts of things.
      Nice that one hospital got a clue.

      If they were really bright, they’d have a contingency to go back to a key-locked narc locker in every unit, Pyxis would have an unlock override that wasn’t electrically powered, and the disaster plan would be practiced, including shifting the meds to a non-powered dispensing system.

      “But it’s tooo haaaaaaaaaaaard!”, and hospital admins and supervisors are work-averse, until they’re up to their assholes in alligators.
      This is why I tell people their “disaster plans” are so much gold-plated horseshit. Because they always are.

      And now, not just the drugs are under electric lock and key.
      Your entire medical record and the charting systems are all computerized.
      Some facilities almost never do back-up paper charting, and if they had to, the disaster would become biblically epic in minutes.

      Entire record is electronic = single point of failure when the power goes out, or the computers go down.
      Who knew?

      That would be everyone of us who told them so, dozens of times.
      WSHTF->YOYO.
      When Shit Hits The Fan, You’re On Your Own.

      Plan accordingly.

  5. Having thought about it for a while, I think what happened, in part, was the Drs and nurses involved got to the point where they DID think it was TEOTWAWKI. The were isolated, physically, mentally, and informationally. They were exhausted physically and mentally.

    As Aesop says above, “there’s always an investigation afterwards.” The people involved though, couldn’t see past the moment.

    Why did no one get help from outside to move the patients? Why did no one internally climb the stairs? Why did the evac guys leave the job undone?

    It was a crazy time, and I think they went a bit insane.

    nick

    (I also think they might have a bit of what used to be common culture in the airline business- no one countermands the Dr. It took aviation a couple of serious accidents and a WHOLE lot of training to get to the point where the copilot will actually speak up and say “Captain, I think we need to set the flaps.” The Dr in the story who just shook his head and left could have challenged the decisions, but didn’t. Lots of people could have but didn’t.)

    • Concur.
      Tired, shell-shocked people make stupid decisions.

      But somewhere in their pointy little heads, the morality chip that correctly identifies manslaughter, and slides it over on the side of the table where you don’t ever go, was burnt out.

      And so they all need to be removed from healthcare, and never entrusted with any sort of patient care again.

      Because when it counted, they failed that test station.

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