They don’t face criminal charges, but that doesn’t mean nuns who ran the Lafon Nursing Home in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck are in the clear.
That’s because they’re facing wrongful death lawsuits regarding 22 nursing home residents who died in the horrible conditions in the aftermath of Katrina. New Orleans resident Maria Johnson sued Lafon in the death of her 79-year-old mother. She said she is deeply troubled that the nuns were evacuated from the nursing home but not her mother, Lorraine Duvernay.
Her mother’s wasn’t the only death at Lafon Nursing Home during the hurricane.
Much has been documented already about the chaos that ensued during Hurricane Katrina – mandatory evacuations came too late, supplies could not get in and many other logistical problems added to the nightmare.
The Lafon Nursing Home incident is a tragedy because many of the elderly residents were deemed too frail to be moved and survive an evacuation.
The nursing home residents fates seemed sealed either way – risk medical problems from evacuation or risk riding out the storm. However, what’s really called into question in the wrongful death lawsuits is why there was never a plan to begin with and why mandatory evacuation orders were not heeded.
Certainly, a natural disaster such as a hurricane cannot be avoided. But could better planning have prevented the deaths at Lafon nursing home and elsewhere. Shouldn’t someone be held liable for the negligence and inaction that lead to these deaths.
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