NEW ORLEANS DOCTOR ACCUSED OF MURDERING PATIENTS
IN THE AFTERMATH OF HURRICANE KATRINA DENIES THE ALLEGATIONS IN HER FIRST INTERVIEW -- "60 MINUTES" SUNDAY
In her first interview since being arrested for lethally injecting four patients in a devastated New Orleans hospital in the desperate days after Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Anna Pou tells Morley Safer that neither she nor the two nurses arrested with her are murderers. Dr. Pou and the nurses, Cheri Landry and Lori Budo, appear in Safer's report to be broadcast on the 39th season premiere of 60 MINUTES Sunday, Sept. 24 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
"It is unbelievably shocking for me that I am actually sitting here having this conversation with you on national TV," says Dr. Pou in an interview accompanied by her lawyers and the two nurses, Budo and Landry. "And I want everyone to know that I am not a murderer, that we are not murderers," she tells Safer.
But Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti says the evidence points to the three women committing second-degree murder. According to an affidavit from the case, witnesses say Dr. Pou and nurses Landry and Budo went to a seventh-floor ward for chronically ill patients equipped with syringes and drugs. The facility, Memorial Medical Center, was preparing to be evacuated after days of 110-degree heat, no power and dwindling supplies caused horrid conditions that contributed to the deaths of many patients and posed a health threat to the rest. The patients on the seventh floor were reportedly deemed too ill to move. According to Foti, Dr. Pou and the nurses then injected them with a "lethal cocktail" of drugs. "People can't presume to act for you and take your life, and the allegation is that they committed homicide on these four people," says Foti. "People testified�We then spent almost 10 � months investigating and after all of this, can only come to the conclusion that this crime had been committed," says Foti.
Post-mortem analysis, says Foti, found lethal amounts of the pain-killing drugs morphine and Versed in the four patients, two men and two women ranging in age from 61 to 90.
"I did not murder those patients," reiterates Dr. Pou. "Mr. Safer, I have spent my entire life taking care of patients, I have no history of doing anything other than good for my patients�.Why would I suddenly start murdering people?" asks Dr. Pou. "I do not believe in euthanasia. I don't think that it's anyone's decision to make when a patient dies�.What I do believe in is comfort care and that means that we ensure that they do not suffer pain," she says.
When pressed by Safer to comment on whether making patients comfortable with pain killers can sometimes include a secondary effect of shortening their lives, Dr. Pou quickly responds, "Are we talking about in this case?" she asks. "Yes," replies Safer. "Any time you provide pain medicine to anybody, there is a risk. But, as I said, my role is to help them through the pain."