Katrina wrongful death trial ends

Emergency Management Alert, February 2, 2010

A trial that was to potentially set a precedent for hospital's responsibilities for patients during disaster has ended with a confidential settlement, reports the Times-Picayune.

The family of Althea LaCoste, a 73-year old woman who died after spending 18 hours at Pendleton Memorial Methodist Hospital in New Orleans without electricity, was charging the hospital and its corporate parent, Universal Health Services, with wrongful death, claiming that the hospital was at fault because a basement fuel pump's failure to cut the diesel supply from a 10,000-gallon tank to a smaller roof-top tank and generator, according to the Times-Picayune.

Though this case ended without clear precedent for similar trial, the next trial, scheduled for May 10, will decide if the death of Lorraine Edwards, a 58-year-old woman who died alongside Althea LaCoste at Methodist was also the hospital's fault.

Source: The Times-Picayune

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