1. Brandt, Doug associate editor


Katrina nurses' murder case dropped.


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The case against two New Orleans nurses accused of murdering patients during Hurricane Katrina has been dropped. (See Editorial, October 2006, and In the News, January.) Nurses Cheri Landry and Lori Budo were accused, along with physician Anna Pou, of using morphine and midazolam (Versed) to end the lives of four patients at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans during the September 2005 storm, rather than try to evacuate them.


While debate has raged across the country over the guilt or innocence of the three hospital employees, the facts of the case have always been sketchy, and charges were never filed. After both Landry and Budo testified before a grand jury in June, charges of second-degree murder "were refused" by assistant attorney general Michael Morales (the case was brought by state attorney general Charles Foti, Jr., who maintains that the four patients would have lived had they not been given the injections). Rumors that the nurses had testified against Pou have arisen, an assertion that has been vigorously denied by the attorneys of both, according to the Associated Press.

Figure. Tracie Morri... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. Tracie Morris Schaefer

Investigation into Pou's role in the four deaths continues, and AJN will continue to cover the story.


Doug Brandt, associate editor


AJN Is Looking for Information

We know the story. The nursing shortage is crippling the health care system-and nurses are forced to work overtime. Volumes have been written on the deleterious effects of mandatory overtime on nurses' health and the health and safety of their patients. Laws have been passed prohibiting unfair overtime practices.


But what happens when the hospital says there are too many nurses? How do institutions behave?


AJN recently received a letter from a nurse who says that when her facility's census is low, some staff nurses who are scheduled to work, or have even reported for work already, are told they aren't needed and are told not to come in or are sent home-and not paid for the day. (In some cases, they're paid for only a portion of the day.) The nurses have no say in the matter.


AJN wants to know whether this is a common practice. If you have experienced this firsthand-or you want to share other newsworthy information-please e-mail