Opinions

Letter to the Editor of the New York Times Magazine
 
Subject:  Strained by Katrina, A Hospital Faces Deadly Choices " by Sheri Fink, M.D., Ph.D. in the New York Times August 30, 2009
 
Letter to the Editor:
 
In my opinion, Sheri Fink, M.D., Ph.D. has done a disservice to the medical profession of which she is a member and to Anna Maria Pou, M.D., in particular, in her recent article "Strained by Katrina, A Hospital Faces Deadly Choices."  Dr. Pou, whose courage and self sacrifice, widely recognized by awards and accolades, is pilloried in this article.  The Grand Jury in Louisiana refused to indict her and according to Dr. Fink's recent statement on a TV talk show admits that the Attorney General refuses to reopen the case. 
 
What was Dr. Fink's motivation in writing this article, and who authorized her to do this?  The article is characterized by "hearsay evidence" which would be laughed at in a court of law.  Time after time she says "so and so told me."  How is it that information "which was not previously disclosed" was disclosed to Dr. Fink? 
 
Dr. Fink is the author of a book entitled "War Hospital: A True Story of Surgery and Survival" which was published in 2004.  It would appear to me that her motivation to write this article is no more than an advanced announcement of her latest book which will contain even more hearsay evidence in the complex and emotional issue of Memorial Hospital during Katrina.
 
In the meantime, Dr. Pou has remained in her home town of New Orleans, is a Professor in LSU Medical School and has continued her commitment to alleviate human suffering in her role as a cancer surgeon and to teach young doctors to treat patients with the utmost compassion.  It is not clear how the last two and a half years of Dr. Fink's life has helped to achieve the medical professions goal of helping our fellow man.  
 
Eugene N. Myers, M.D, FACS, FRCS Edin (Hon)
Distinguished Professor and Emeritus Chair
Department of Otolaryngology
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center