The IUP Journal of Organizational Behavior
Ethical Dilemmas of Decision Making in a Crisis: Tragedy at Memorial Medical Center, New Orleans

Article Details
Pub. Date : October, 2021
Product Name : The IUP Journal of Organizational Behavior
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJOB311021
Author Name : Akbar N Jan*, G V Muralidhara** and Shwetha Kumari
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Arts & Humanities
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 19



The case study describes the moral dilemmas faced by the leaders, doctors, and nurses of Memorial Medical Center (Memorial), New Orleans, during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The hospital had no electricity, running water, or air conditioning. The temperature shot up to more than 110o Fahrenheit and the putrid smell of dead bodies burnt the back of the throat. Both chaos and heroism defined the scenes at Memorial; Memorial staff worked around the clock with few provisions to sustain them. Further, the case discusses the decision of the hospital leaders that patients with Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) orders should get the lowest priority as they had the least to lose. It then describes the triage conducted by Dr. Anna Marie Pou (Dr. Pou), a well-regarded head and neck surgeon. Later, Dr. Pou along with two nurses Cheri Landry, and Lori Budo, euthanized the DNR patients, although there was still hope of evacuation. The case ends with a discussion on the arrest of Dr. Pou, Cheri Landry, and Lori Budo for second-degree murder..


In July 2006, Dr. Anna Marie Pou (Dr. Pou), a surgeon with an excellent reputation for patient care, and two nurses Cheri Landry and Lori Budo, who worked through the chaos that followed Hurricane Katrina (Katrina), were accused of giving four patients stranded at their hospital, Memorial Medical Center (Memorial), New Orleans, US, lethal doses of morphine and a sedative. They were charged with second-degree murder in connection with patient deaths.iii Earlier, on September 11, 2005, 13 days after the hurricane hit New Orleans, mortuary workers had recovered 45 decomposing bodies from Memorial. This led to an extensive investigation by the Louisiana attorney general, Charles Foti Jr. (Foti), into the hospital and nursing-home deaths during Hurricane Katrina.