Louisiana’s officials investigating euthanasia claims

The state attorney-general is investigating allegations that medical staff at a New Orleans hospital administered fatal drugs to some elderly, seriously ill patients in the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina.

Rumors of euthanasia have repeatedly surfaced since Katrina struck the city on August 29 and left the facilities without water and power for days afterward, said Foti spokeswoman Kris Wartelle.

Charles Foti has requested autopsies, including toxicology tests, on 45 patients who died at Memorial Medical Centre during and after the storm.

Witnesses have said conditions at Memorial hospital quickly deteriorated as temperatures soared above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degree Celsius) inside the building and the sanitation system broke down, according to Reuters.

Nearly seven weeks after Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, the Louisiana coroner, Louis Cataldie, said on Friday the state's death toll was 1035 and rising, Sydney Morning Heralds reports.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has come under renewed criticism, this time over an audit of spending during the crises of Hurricane Katrina and its successor, Hurricane Rita. A.M.

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