How Many Bodies?

Sherri Fink leads her readers to believe that because "forty-five" bodies were recovered from Memorial Hospital, "the largest number found at any Katrina-struck hospital", (p 234) something untoward must have happened. Ms. Fink fails to mention that eleven corpses were in the morgue before the storm struck. Of the 34 patients who died after the storm began, 24 were LifeCare patients. LifeCare's choice to move nineteen patients from St. Bernard to Memorial, rather than out of harm's way, meant that Memorial had the largest number of acute care patients (55) in New Orleans. Had LifeCare transported these patients, almost all of whom were dependent on sophisticated machinery, out of the reach of Hurricane Katrina, rather than to a building that was almost guaranteed to lose most electricity for some time after the storm, those patients might have had a fighting chance, and Memorial's death rate would have been comparable to other area hospitals.