MEMORIAL HOSPITAL TRUTH
Five Days at Memorial, the truth...
This website was created in response to a novel by a self-proclaimed ethicist who seeks to capitalize on lives lost, families broken and on reputations damaged by a discredited investigation initiated for political purposes by the former Attorney General of Louisiana. That novel has now been made into a mini-series that is further sensationalizing this sad chapter in our nation's history.
The website addresses the question:
Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink
FICTION OR NON-FICTION?
WELCOME viewers of Apple TV’s miniseries Five Days at Memorial produced by Sheri Fink, who authored the novel Five Days at Memorial. Thank you for visiting this site and for seeking out the facts regarding the tragic events at New Orleans Baptist Memorial Hospital during and immediately following Hurricane Katrina.
First and foremost, please know that Dr. Anna Pou has not participated nor does she have any financial interest in either the miniseries or Ms. Fink’s book. In fact, Dr. Pou has demanded a disclaimer before each episode:
“Dr. Pou was not in any way involved in the writing, consulting or the producing this series, nor did she profit in any way from this venture.”
Neither was she asked to participate or verify anything that appears in the series. In fact, the producers of the mini-series stated "We made an intentional decision not to talk to any of the actual participants."
*Carlton Cuse interview: https://screenrant.com/five-days-at-memorial-carlton-cuse-interview/
Five Days at Memorial, both the book and the mini-series, tell the story only through eyes of Sherri Fink, who was safely elsewhere during Hurricane Katrina.
Unlike producer and author Sheri Fink, Dr. Pou has never sought to capitalize or profit on the lost lives, human suffering and catastrophic damages caused by Hurricane Katrina.
This website presents the true story of the ordeal faced by Dr. Anna Pou who was the object of a discredited investigation initiated for purposes of political grandstanding by the former Louisiana Attorney General and perpetuated by producer author Ms. Fink.
This website contains:
CBS’s Morley Safer's September 24, 2006, interview of Dr. Pou on 60 Minutes during which she empathically denied euthanizing patients at Memorial Hospital, because she did not; Video Here
The American Medical Association Letter in support of Dr. Pou and the Memorial Nurses issued the next day after Dr. Pou’s appearance on 60 Minutes; AMA Statement
The New Orleans Grand Jury’s unanimous “No True Bill” findings on July 24th, 2007, exonerating Dr. Pou of all criminal charges; News Article
FAULTY FORENSICS highly touted by the AG's staff were exposed by the leading drug pathologist, Dr. Steven Karch, in his testimony before Louisiana legislature, where he explained the unreliability of using drug toxicology results from seriously decomposed bodies that were retrieved from the hospital several weeks later. Read Testimony
Apple Tv; Fact Or Fiction Commentary by Richard T. Simmons Jr Counsel for Dr Anna Pou
The Apple TV mini-series Five Days at Memorial accurately reflects the devastation and chaos caused by Hurricane Katrina, the Federal, State and Local governments total abandonment of the doctors and patients at Memorial Hospital and the total disconnect and later “finger pointing” between Tenet and LifeCare, the two hospital corporations with a presence at Memorial. But the mini-series goes off track at the end when the author created a fictitious pharmacist who concluded that Dr. Pou, and two Memorial nurses were responsible for the patient deaths by taking over the LifeCare Unit and administering “legal doses” to LifeCare patients. Dr. Anna Pou empathetically denies these allegations, as she did during CBS’s Morley Safer’s 60 Minutes interview of her on September 24, 2006., and has consistently done before and after. Link (60 Minute Interview)
Ms. Fink touts herself as the leading authority on the events of Memorial Hospital, pointing to her substantial time spent investigating the matter and interviewing various individuals. I began representing Dr. Pou one month after Katrina struck and defended her during the criminal investigation (2005-2007) and the resulting civil litigation (2006-2013). I had access to the Memorial Hospital site on four occasions, extensively reviewed the medical records, autopsy reports, and toxicology results, interviewed scores of witnesses, studied the expert reports, and interfaced with the Attorney General’s personnel, the District Attorney and the Coroner.
While Ms. Fink tells the tale of events through the eyes of the failed prosecution team of Assistant Attorney General Butch Schaeffer and Investigator Virginia Ryder, I offer my comments through the eyes of Dr. Pou and the two Memorial nurses who were arrested with her. Having watched the eight episodes of Five Days at Memorial and reviewed the transcripts of the mini-series, I provide the following commentary:
1. There is a logical explanation of the cause of the 45 patient deaths at Memorial – the horrific conditions, the abandonment of these patients and their doctors by all levels of government and failed corporate policies.
2. One day after Attorney General Foti arrested the owners of St. Rita’s Nursing Home on charges of negligent homicide of 35 residents who were not evacuated , LifeCare’s counsel, fearful of similar criminal and civil consequences for the deaths of 24 LifeCare patients, called Attorney General Charles Foti, alleging Tenet and Dr. Pou were responsible by administrating morphine to their patients.
3. The deteriorated conditions of both the Hospital and the LifeCare patients themselves caused another doctor to issue a “standing order” for morphine which was placed at stations within the LIfeCare Unit by the LifeCare pharmacist one day before the evacuation.
4. Fink created a fictitious LifeCare Pharmacist – (a Mr. Nakamanu) - who is depicted as accusing Dr. Pou of administering “lethal doses” of morphine to patients, when in fact, the actual LifeCare pharmacist participated by providing the morphine in question.
5. While LifeCare’s participation was not revealed initially, a later inventory of the two hospital pharmacies revealed the drugs in question came from the LifeCare pharmacy on the 7th floor unit, not the Tenet’s pharmacy on the 2nd floor where Dr. Pou had signed a prescription earlier in the week for morphine for a dying patient.
6. The Assistant Attorney General (Schaffer) and his investigator (Ryder) attempted to suppress the favorable opinion of the leading drug pathologist, Dr. Steven Karch, that a homicide determination could not be reached based upon unreliable toxicology and pathology results from seriously decomposed bodies retrieved from the hospital over 12 days later. Fink perpetuated this suppress by failing to include Dr. Karch’s contrary opinion which was expressed during his meeting with the Coroner, Attorney General and the D.A. personnel.
7. The former Attorney General Foti hijacked the normal investigative and prosecutorial process for his own political purpose and staged a “media circus arrest” of Dr. Pou and two nurses for a CNN audience.
8. In the Fall of 2007, as Foti was running for re-election, Schaffer and Ryder approached me and admitted to me in interviews that Attorney General Foti had directed them to lie about a self-surrender agreement and further directed them to circumvent the Coroner and the D.A.’s office, in order to orchestrate the “media arrest” of Pou.
9. While hospice facilities and palliative care concepts are common place and accepted by the general public today, that was not the case in 2005 - 17 years ago. This led to a misunderstanding as to Dr. Pou’s comments and actions. During the interview with Schaffer and Ryder, both expressed disapproval of palliative care concepts based upon their own personal and religious beliefs.
10. The final scene’s depiction of a celebration at an award ceremony for Dr. Pou is a total fiction as Dr. Pou, unlike Fink, has never sought “fame and fortune” from this tragic event and has always been respectful of those who loss loved ones from this tragedy and of the medical colleagues who stayed until the end.
Although Dr. Pou received many recognitions for her service to patients, there was never a “victory” celebration as depicted in the mini-series. Like much else in her book and the Apple TV series, that is a figment of Sheri Fink’s imagination.
More reflective of her attitude as to Dr. Pou’s experience is the words she spoke at a press conference after her exoneration by the Grand Jury on July 24, 2007: