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Forensics & Experts

Attorney General Foti, after the arrest of Dr. Pou and the nurses, proclaimed to the press that Morphine and Versed are a "lethal cocktail" and that the drug concentrations in bodies found at Memorial proved that overdoses were the cause of death, despite the fact that the bodies had decomposed for weeks in high temperatures. After the Grand Jury issued a “No True Bill” and opted not to indict anyone, Attorney General Foti released to the press five expert opinions which he suggested supported those contention and thus, his criminal investigation. Other experts do not agree:

In response to these expert opinions, Dr. Steven Miles reviewed the Attorney General's expert reports. Dr. Miles is certified in Internal Medicine and Geriatric Medicine, is Program Director of America Refugee Committee and practices and teaches medicine at the University of Minnesota. It is his opinion that “none of the above experts seemed familiar with how the dynamics of a collapsed hospital change record keeping.” He further stated that the longer a patient in a collapsed hospital goes without customary monitoring with laboratory tests and radiographs, the more likely it becomes that a latent problem will become a crisis: “Dr. Pou and her colleagues on the seventh floor of Memorial Medical Center were at the epicenter of a failed health care system. Outside – Katrina and a dysfunctional city. Inside – a collapsed and isolated medical infrastructure.” (See Dr. Miles’ full opinion and qualifications.)

Dr. Steven Karch is one of the world’s leading experts in the area of forensic pathology and has been used as an expert on an international basis. He was provided the same data and copies of the other Attorney General expert reports. Dr. Karch believed that the other experts reached too far in their conclusions regarding the laboratory results which he considered of no value other than to show the presence or absence of the particular drugs for which tests were generated. Dr. Karch was specifically directed by the Attorney General staff not to write a report. Accordingly, when the former Attorney General “released” his expert reports, after the “No True Bill,” Dr. Karch’s opinion was not among them, for obvious reasons. Dr. Karch has once again examined the records and laboratory results and his conclusions are the same: “Post-mortem drug concentrations bear no relationship to the immediate anti-mortem periods other than to note the presence or absence of such drugs”. (See Dr. Karch's full report and qualifications and transcript of his testimony to the Louisiana Legislature.)

Dr. William George (Tulane Medical Toxicologist) agrees with Dr. Karch: "There is no evidence, in the form of published or peer review literature that post-mortem drug concentrations bear any predictable relationship whatsoever to the concentrations in the immediate anti-mortem periods. This is particularly true when the decedent’s bodies are un-refrigerated for over a week in temperatures in excess of 100 degrees. The laboratory results can not be used as a basis for concluding 'lethal doses were given,' and can only be used to show the presence or absence of a particular drug." (See Dr. George’s full report and qualifications)



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