Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pendleton Memorial Methodist Hospital CEO Says Not Aware of Emergency Power Concerns

During Hurricane Katrina, 73-year-old Althea LaCoste, whose ventilator depended on electricity, survived the initial power outage thanks to manual breathing assistance from hospital staff. But a medical expert for Ms. LaCoste said that she died some time later because of the strain suffered during that time.

The CEO of Pendleton Memorial Methodist Hospital, who was sued because of the death, said under cross examination that he didn't know previous executives documented concerns that the power generator system could fail if a first-floor fuel pump flooded in an emergency. That's exactly what happened during Hurricane Katrina. Ms. LaCoste died in the hospital after the storm.

The LaCoste case could establish a new standard of liability for hospitals in wrongful death due to disaster planning decisions. Pendleton's CEO should have known of the documented pervious concerns.

For more, read Bill Barrow, New Orleans Times-Picayune 01/16/2010 Read Article: New Orleans Times-Picayune

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