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Dr. Steven Karch

Dr. Stephen Karch’s Testimony to the Louisiana Legislature


Excerpts of Dr. Stephen Karch’s Testimony to the Louisiana Legislature in 2008 in support of HB383 to Provide Adequate Legal Protection for Medical Professionals Who Respond in Times of Declared Disasters.

Mr. Chairman, thank you for this opportunity to speak in support of HB383.

I graduated from Tulane medical school and I trained at Charity Hospital.

Late in July 2006 I watched the press conference AG Foti held after arresting Dr. Pou. I thought I must have misheard him when he claimed that she had injected the patients with a guaranteed lethal cocktail of morphine and midozalam. I thought that a little strange, given that similar “cocktails” are given many times, every day, in nearly every hospital in America.

In Feburary 2007 I was contacted by the AG’s office here in Baton Rouge. They had received reports from a number of doctors – you have seen them all on television, all of which concluded that multiple cases of homicide had occurred at Memorial Hospital. They wanted my input.

We met on Thursday, February 9, at Dr. Minyard’s office in New Orleans. It was a diverse group, including the medical examiners from New Orleans, representatives from the AG’s office, and representatives from the office of the NOLA district attorney.

We sat around a long table and discussed the findings in each case individually. I pointed out that in every instance these were very sick patients, some already with DNR orders. The charges against Dr. Pou were based solely on the drug concentrations measured in fluids oozing from their decomposing bodies, bodies that had been stored at high temperatures for days or weeks.

I told all present I felt there was insufficient evidence to proceed. I was told that no written report would be required. In July 2007, hours after the GJ refused to indict, reports from the experts who believed her to be a murderer were released to CNN. The AG’s office had even taken the trouble to underline the most inflammatory statement. My opinions were never mentioned and my name never released.

Bodies had been dead or stored for weeks stored at very high temperatures – why would a rational person believe that drug levels in these cadavers bear any relationship at all to values measured in life. There is no way to tell whether one large dose or frequent small doses were given. Only a charlatan would say so.

No scientific experiment has ever shown that drug levels after death are the same as in life.

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