Forty-five bodies were found at Memorial Medical Center, a New Orleans hospital owned by Tenet Healthcare Corp., the Associated Press reported. The bodies reportedly were those of patients, according to a spokesman for the Department of Health and Hospitals who did not provide other information.
Harry Anderson, a Tenet spokesman, said they were patients who had died and were tagged after Katrina hit but before the hospital was evacuated. They were awaiting removal by the coroner and were guarded by a security detail, he said.
A significant number of the patients were those of a long-term rehabilitation company that managed an LTAC in the facility, Anderson also noted. "No living patient was left behind," he said. "We evacuated every living patient before the staff left on Friday... . The coroner simply didn't show up until yesterday."
Anderson said one of the great tragedies of the disaster was that fragile patients awaiting evacuation in high temperatures with no power or water no doubt died in all New Orleans hospitals.
Memorial Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Rene Goux wrote a firsthand account of his experience with Hurricane Katrina for this week's issue of Modern Healthcare.