The Broussard Timeline…

Yeah, that St. Rita’s one. I found myself thinking about it this morning, and I can’t convince myself that Broussard’s mistake is very significant, not compared to possibility that the patients of St. Rita’s died through willful neglect.

MR. BROUSSARD: …and every day she called him and said, “Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?” And he said, “Yeah, Mama, somebody’s coming to get you. Somebody’s coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Friday.” And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night…

The official in question has stated that Broussard got the story wrong, that the phone calls were from Thomas Rodrigue to his mother’s facility.

9 Comments so far

  1. holly (unregistered) on September 20th, 2005 @ 4:17 pm

    Joe,

    I am glad to hear that your Grandmother made it safely through her evacuation and is currently safe.

    I am going to have to measure my words carefully here and for full disclosure I will say that my father lives in a nursing home. He has a dibilitating disease, can no longer walk, requires kidney diaysis four times a week and a ridiculous amount of pain killers and medication to survive. Ok, so, with that….

    I could not agree more that the “confusion or obfuscation” of Broussard’s statement is insignificant to the over-all issue. Let’s remember his statement was not, by any means, testimony given in court. It was a story related in a time of emotional duress to the story hungry press. Many hyperbolic statements and misstatements were made by authorities, politicians and civilians during this time.

    I also agree that a scapegoat will not be sufficient for this particular case. Not by a long shot. This case, and others like it (likely this is just the begining) deserve thoughtful, thorough and exhaustive investigation.

    Here is the big issue: Those who are in the position of caring for people who can not take care of themselves have an obligation to make tough choices with the best interest of their charges/patients in mind. Often these choices need to be made quickly. There seems to be a strange throwing up of hands when it comes to both assigning responsibility and accepting responsibility and I just don’t get it. Blame may be a dirty word, but responsibility is not. Blame is only what happens when someone refuses their responsibility in something.

    I understand the complexity of the choice that many health care workers and officials were faced with in terms of evacuation. I have truly attempted to understand this from both sides. I realize that lives are often lost simply in the evacuation process. It is certainly a risk to evacuate and put patients in compromising situations to avoid a storm that may or may not wreak worse havoc.

    However, when faced with a mandatory evacuation in a flood prone city with patients who might not survive evacuation, but will definitely not survive a flood their really was no choice to be made. Yet, it seems a choice was made and the consequences of that choice are playing out now. That choice may have been made with the best of intentions even if the result of that choice was disasterous. That is what this will be about. What choices were made with what knowledge and what intention? Was there an evacuation plan for emrgency situations? If not, why not? If so, why wasn’t it put to use?

    For the people who placed their loved ones in the care of those at St. Rita’s these are just the begining of the questions that must be asked. I believe there is someone, maybe a few someones that have the answers.


  2. holly (unregistered) on September 21st, 2005 @ 11:17 am

    Wierd. I would have thought that his case would garner a lot of discussion.

    I forgot to address something yesterday that you touched upon.

    Dumb luck. I think that is the key here. The Manganos (the owners and administrators of St. Rita’s) are not evil or bad or awful people. I could not help but feel a pang of pity when I saw there mug shots. From all that I have read the Manganos have twenty years of unmarred experience running St. Rita’s and the nursing home was respected in the community.

    From all that I have read and heard it also seems that the Manganos successfully weathered past storms and hurricanes (twenty years worth) without evacuating at St. Rita’s. So, it seems that their decision not to evacuate for Katrina was based on past experience and well, dumb luck rather than current logic and protocol. It was a poor decision that had deadly consequences. Was it criminal? In the brave new post-Katrina world- possibly.

    As I said before, I don’t want to see the Manganos made into scapegoats. My hope is that by pursuing this case and others like it the questions will ripple up through the ranks of authority, shedding light on failures and poor decision making throughout.

    The questions in the case of St. Rita’s are the same essential questions that need to be asked straight up to the highest authority in the U.S. What good is disaster preparedness and planning if during a real emergency we are not able, due to either poor decision making or no decision making, to implement those plans and lives are lost as a result? This question could easily be asked of the Manganos, but also of FEMA.

    St. Rita’s did have an evacuation plan (as is required by law), but chose not to implement it. Just as FEMA staged countless, largescale, expensive emergency disaster drills in order to prepare for a real one but seemed stumped and immobilized by the fallout of the hurricane in New Orleans when the time came. They were not prepared for the ensuing chaos and disorder?

    So, hopefully the resounding question would be why? Why? Why? And it will echo from the Manganos straight up to FEMA and everyone inbetween.


  3. Joe B. (unregistered) on September 21st, 2005 @ 12:01 pm

    And luck, certainly, is part of the question I have about prosecuting these people, instead of, say, the people in charge of my grandmother’s facility.

    It’s a difficult issue. Mostly because there’s a so much room to say, “you should have expected, planned, and acted for this contingency, because it was so foreseeable.” But Memorial Medical Center will probably have some ‘splaining to do. Charity, East Jeff, and probably a couple of others as well.

    I’m glad there weren’t 10,000 deaths in New Orleans, I thought there easily could be. If there had, I think Nagin and Blanco would also be in a position to share some criminal liability, too.

    But hopefully people will learn from this situation and act sooner rather than later even with the uncertainties inherent in weather prediction.


  4. Red (unregistered) on September 21st, 2005 @ 1:04 pm

    I think the point of prosecuting the Manganos, and others like them, is that they DID have an evacuation plan in place, and they didn’t execute it.

    I ‘magine that moving a bunch of extremely sick, old people is a bit of a logistics nightmare, as well as being almost prohibitively expensive, and combined with the Manganos’ previous experience with hurricanes made their decision not to move these folks to higher ground. Not to mention the fact that some of the patients were like as not to die during the evacuation itself.

    That being said…..tough for them. It’s the cost of doing business in that part of the world that occasionally you will have to bear the cost of evacuating your patients to higher ground in the face of what could be a devastating natural event. It’s not like Katrina ramped up to a cat 4 storm in an hour or two. These folks had more than enough warning that they were in the path of a monster, and did nothing to protect the folks that were in their care, either from the arrogance of “experience” or worse, because they didn’t want to bear the expense of the move. Either way, they showed a depraved indifference to the plight of the people in their care, and they broke the trust placed in them by the loved ones of these poor drowned people. They and all the others like them who did not remove helpless people in their care from the path of a killer, should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and it doesn’t hurt my feelings one bit that the Manganos may spend their twighlight years in the pen. It’s no more than they deserve.

    Put yourself in the position of the relatives of these poor drowned people. How would YOU feel if you found out that your father/mother/auntie/whomever hadn’t been moved because the people in charge of their care “didn’t think” it would be that bad?? In that kind of situation, where lives are at stake, you don’t “think.” You do. You execute the legally required plan and you deal with the expenses later.


  5. me (unregistered) on September 23rd, 2005 @ 11:26 pm

    Outsourcing of familial responsibility

    If you were so concerned about your relatives why didn’t you check on them or take them with you?

    RED writes:
    “Put yourself in the position of the relatives of these poor drowned people. How would YOU feel if you found out that your father/mother/auntie/whomever hadn’t been moved because the people in charge of their care “didn’t think” it would be that bad??”

    If these people were close to you, why weren’t you checking on them? (Notwithstanding the bigger question of why they were put in paid care “homes” in the first place…NOW you are so worried about them? right. what a joke.)

    it seems to me that people who shrug their responsibilities off on others with a few dollars to assuage their guilt, often love to point their self-righteous fingers afterwards at the people who were doing the actual work while relating that they were too big or great or busy (oh, yes) or actually, more truthfully, totally disinterested to do anything themselves…


  6. Sweet Eugenia (unregistered) on September 26th, 2005 @ 11:18 pm

    They had an evacuation plan in place and failed to execute it when the local coroner called and said he had the buses and the men to get those folks out of there,,,,and the owners refused until it was too late.
    One of the relatives of the dead reported that the owners called them to say they had told the patients, who were left behind, to “hang onto the ceiling fans” when the waters rose,,,,because the owners figured the mattresses would float. Now, that’s really something that you want to hear. Just hang onto the ceiling fan,,,,,before you die!


  7. Sweet Eugenia (unregistered) on September 26th, 2005 @ 11:43 pm

    They had an evacuation plan in place and failed to execute it when the local coroner called and said he had the buses and the men to get those folks out of there,,,,and the owners refused until it was too late.
    One of the relatives of the dead reported that the owners called them to say they had told the patients, who were left behind, to “hang onto the ceiling fans” when the waters rose,,,,because the owners figured the mattresses would float. Now, that’s really something that you want to hear. Just hang onto the ceiling fan,,,,,before you die!


  8. treve nestreve (unregistered) on September 27th, 2005 @ 6:49 am

    The problem I have with the Broussard statement is that he is a public official. Just like comments from Nagin and Blanco they were posted in every country in the world. We have already been undermined by the over-reporting of the WMDs and Abu Gharib and Guantanamo etc. I watched the BBC in England interview some tourists who were evacuated from the Superdome – the stories were incredible (they have all since been proven untrue) but the people in England and Europe will tell you it really happened.

    The nursing home owners need to be held accountable and should be subject to a trial but then we also should arrest Nagin, Blanco, Broussard, Michael Brown, Chertoff and the Homeland Security director that stopped the Red Cross from going to the Superdome. Then we need to have highly publicized apologies from ALL the major news services and Oprah Winfrey and Tim Russert etc. for not checking out the stories before they reported them as if they were working for a supermarket tabloid.
    The Katrina experience has shown that you can NOT believe anything you read or see reported by a talking head on TV.


  9. Red (unregistered) on September 27th, 2005 @ 1:39 pm

    I’m down with arresting Blanco and Nagin for sure. Both of them were/are criminally negligent, and both should either lose their jobs or go to jail or both. As for Broussard, well, he’s just a neighborhood blow hard, and although he exagerated (as ambitious politicians will do), in my mind, exageration isn’t a crime. I did see him on Meet the Press this week and he steadfastly refused to admit he might have fudged the timeline. Of course, if he’s got any ambitions to go further in Lousiana politics, he’s gotta remember which Democrat side his bread is buttered on, which is why he didn’t actually admit anything.

    As for the Manganos and all like them, they deserve what they get. Whether it was hubris, or cowardice or just plain cheapness, they abandoned their patients to their fates, thus, they should reap the whirlwind, having sown the wind. They gambled and lost. End of story.



Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.