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200 deaths examined in euthanasia probe
 Louisiana attorney general's office targeting hospitals, nursing homes

The Louisiana attorney general's office is examining the deaths of more than 200 nursing home and hospital patients during and after Hurricane Katrina for evidence of euthanasia or neglect.

As WorldNetDaily reported, six hospitals and 13 nursing homes in Louisiana are targets of the probe by a team of 28 investigators and seven state prosecutors.

Some patients allegedly were abandoned and some were euthanized in the chaotic aftermath of the Aug. 29 storm, spokeswoman Kris Wartelle told Reuters.

"In some places, they drowned. In some places, they died because there was no air conditioning. In other cases, we've heard of possible euthanasia," she said.

Several criminal investigations are underway, according to Wartelle, but some claims of misconduct likely will remain unsubstantiated.

"Not all of these are going to be arrest-worthy or case-worthy," she said. "Some of them will turn out to be nothing."

The case is complicated by the evacuation of many witnesses to places across the country.

In the only arrests to date, a couple who owns a nursing home in St. Bernard Parish was charged with negligent homicide in the deaths of 34 elderly patients left at the facility when it flooded after the storm.

Prosecutors also are examining the death of 90-year-old Thelma Wall at the Huntington Place Senior Community in Chalmette, La., who died aboard a school bus during an evacuation the day before the hurricane hit.

Family members told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that Wall was not given needed medical care during the evacuation.

Euthanasia foe Rita Marker warned in a WND interview earlier this month against jumping to conclusions about the probe.

"I think it's important to wait until the investigation is completed because if, in fact, you have a situation where patients were in great distress because of the heat, because of their illnesses and whatever and doctors were giving them injections of pain medication or were sedating them to treat their symptoms, that would be certainly morally acceptable," said Marker, executive director of the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide.

But she added that if the injections were given for the purpose of killing the patient, "then you have cases of involuntary euthanasia. And whether done supposedly out of altruistic motives or not, then that would certainly be homicide. ... So we have to find out exactly what the motive here was."