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News of the Day ... In Perspective

9/13/2005

Nursing home owners charged with deaths of 34 patients

At the St. Rita’s nursing home near New Orleans, the water rose 3 feet within 15 minutes and then even faster. Not all of the 60 patients could be moved out in time; 34 perished.

Salvatore and Mable Mangano, the husband-and-wife owners, are being charged with 34 counts of negligent homicide, each count carrying a 5-year prison term. The home had an evacuation plan and a contract with an ambulance company, but they did not call the company and refused an earlier offer of help from St. Bernard Parish officials. This case is the first major prosecution to come from the disaster.

The defendants said they faced a difficult decision between evacuating frail patients, many on feeding tubes, and trying to weather the storm. Three patients from another nursing home had died during an evacuation ahead of the storm.

Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti said, “They had a duty and a standard of care to people who could not care for themselves.” (Associated Press 9/14/05).

Additional information:

“No-Hazards Preparedness,” Doctors for Disaster Preparedness Newsletter, September 2005

“George Bush’s Misplaced Katrina Apology,” newsmax.com 9/14/05

“Why New Orleans Flooded,” newsmax.com 9/13/05

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