On September 11, 2005, mortuary workers began recovering decomposing bodies from Memorial Hospital. Upon discovery of over thirty-four bodies at Memorial, rumors of “euthanizing patients”, and the call from LifeCare’s corporate counsel in the wake of the arrest of the owners of St. Rita’s Nursing Home, the LifeCare witnesses were brought in lock step to the Attorney General’s office, to provide statements. A media frenzy, led by CNN, soon erupted and Dr. Pou’s name was mentioned as a “person of interest.”
This was the beginning of the corporate finger pointing between Tenet and LifeCare as to who was responsible for the failure to evacuate the Memorial and LifeCare patients. Fear of corporate and individual liability for the twenty-four LifeCare deaths at Memorial caused corporate counsel for LifeCare to step forward with statements from LifeCare personnel pointing the finger at Dr. Pou and the Memorial nurses. Instead of explaining why it had not evacuated the Chalmette (St. Bernard) patients (e.g. Ms. Savoie and Mr. Alford) from the Chalmette (St. Bernard) facility to a facility outside of New Orleans, instead of to the 7th floor of Memorial Hospital; why the LifeCare Medical Director evacuated, leaving only staff members to treat the fifty acute care and elderly patients on the 7th floor; and why no rescue effort was undertaken prior to August 31st, 2005, LifeCare chose to point the finger elsewhere in hopes of limiting corporate liability. (LifeCare indicated its attempts on August 31st to do so were dwarfed by the Government’s “limitations on airspace” - why not try earlier?)
Dr. Pou and the two Memorial nurses were caught in the “cross fire” between the former Attorney General’s investigation and two corporations with massive exposure for a large number of patient deaths and became scapegoats.
JULY 18, 2006 10:24AM LOUISIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL CHARLES FOTI AT PRESS CONFERENCE ANNOUNCING THE ARREST OF DR POU AND THE TWO MEMORIAL NURSES ON CHARGES OF MURDER.
(PHOTO BY ALEX BRANDON AP PERMISSION)