Authors

  1. Lage, Ann BSN, RN
  2. Green, Cathryn E. BSN, RN
  3. Sanford, Karen A. BSN, RN
  4. St. Amant, Melissa M. BSN, RN
  5. Guest, Margaret E.
  6. Clark, Ann W. BSN, RN, COHN-S, CCM
  7. Job, Lucia RN
  8. Moeller, Debbie MS, BSN, RN

Article Content

I've been angry since Lori Budo, Cheri Landry, and Anna Pou were accused of murder in New Orleans ("In Their Shoes," Editorial October 2006). No one knows what circumstances they faced after Hurricane Katrina, and they shouldn't be judged. Despite horrific conditions, they made their dying patients' comfort of the utmost importance. They deserve our support.

 

Ann Lage, BSN, RN

 

Colfax, IL

 

Intense media scrutiny has created personal and professional hardship for physician Pou and nurses Budo and Landry since their arrest last summer, but this case will have a larger impact. How will clinicians be protected in the next disaster? The American Medical Association and the Louisiana State Medical Society issued public statements supporting Pou and criticized the actions of the Louisiana attorney general, Charles C. Foti, Jr. We hope our national nursing leaders will have a similar response

 

The accusations are unwarranted and unprecedented. Budo and Landry, nurses with exceptional skill, compassion, and integrity, have been outstanding role models for many nurses and residents in the surgical ICU at their hospital. Those of us who worked with them during Katrina witnessed their tireless effort to comfort, treat, and evacuate patients. They saved many lives

 

They've been unable to work, pending the results of the case. Landry lost her home and all of her possessions in the flood waters; Budo and her husband have two children in college. Visit http://www.memorialnursessupportfund.com and http://www.supportdrpou.com for information on how to support them. Or send donations and letters to the Memorial Nurses Support Fund, Inc., PO Box 55717, Metairie, LA 70055-5717. Wristbands may be purchased through cegreen1@cox.net; proceeds go to the support fund.

 

Cathryn E. Green, BSN, RN

 

Karen A. Sanford, BSN, RN

 

Melissa M. St. Amant, BSN, RN

 

Metairie, LA

 

I challenge the claim that the nurses who are accused of giving lethal doses of morphine and midazolam (Versed) were heroes. Diana Mason suggests that they gave the medication not to kill but to comfort. But I don't see how a lethal dose can be used in palliative care or as analgesia. One might consider them heroes when comparing them with the staff who left the hospital, but true heroes were nurses like those stranded on Bataan during World War II. They knew that even if they had no supplies, their presence provided comfort that could heal.

 

Mason asks, "What would you have done?" As a nursing student I'm learning about nurses' responsibilities. I pledge to my future patients that I will stick by them and provide the best care possible. No matter the situation, I vow to follow in the steps of the true nursing heroes of the past.

 

Margaret E. Guest

 

Aurora, IL

 

Budo and Landry practiced ethically for a quarter of a century. Although I don't know Pou personally, I have heard about her dedication and ethical practice. All three comforted patients in the midst of Katrina Hell. Now, each day is hell for them: a second-degree murder conviction carries a life sentence

 

Ann W. Clark, BSN, RN, COHN-S, CCM

 

New Orleans, LA

 

I was relieved that the editorial gave these nurses the benefit of the doubt. Many in the media have put them in the same category as Charles Cullen, who admitted to murdering dozens of patients. Charles C. Foti, Jr., said, "We're talking about people that pretended that maybe they were God." Budo and Landry made the best of nearly impossible circumstances. Their managers, administrators, hospital, and government abandoned them. Some call them murderers; I call them selfless

 

Lucia Job, RN

 

West New York, NJ

 

I was disappointed by the editorial. Despite its admirable support of nurses, I can't stand by while Diana Mason says that the Tenet Healthcare Corporation, the owner of Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans, failed in its responsibility. As chief nursing officer at a Tenet facility in Texas, I know that the response to the hurricane was organized and systematic. Many of us sent our staff into a situation that was difficult to manage. The claim that Tenet "failed to ensure the safety of staff and patients" is an insult to the Tenet employees who worked hard through the Katrina chaos.

 

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Debbie Moeller, MS, BSN, RN

 

Rowlett, TX