Letters to the Editor


It boggles the mind why Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti did not consult with the Louisiana State Medical Society about Dr. Anna Pou's case before starting this whole tragic farce ("Leadoff: Foti casts for a scapegoat," Aug. 1). Why didn't he ask our society to establish the review committee consisting of respected local experts in medicine and medical ethics ' to advise him about the whole matter? Instead, he resorted to using quite controversial out-of-state "celebrity coroners."

As physicians we are engaged in the special mission of healing. In that calling, we lobby, first and foremost, for the best interest of our patients. It is a sheer folly to believe that organized medicine would not have the public good at the top of its agenda. Today, while serving our patients we have to face not only economic challenges. We have to be ready to combat an absurd phenomenon of anti-doctor backlash. Dr. Pou's case demonstrates that increasing irrational distrust towards the medical profession may be explored by some unscrupulous politicians ' to the great detriment of their own constituents.

The enforcement agencies should finally start listening to recognized clinical experts regarding an issue of clinical utilization of controlled dangerous substances. Unfortunately, those powerful entities rely on a dubious "expertise" of former police officers, retired physicians-administrators without any scientific credentials, or celebrity coroners. The reliance of Foti on the opinion of two made-for-TV coroners in a clinical (not criminal) matter of Dr. Pou is a prime example of how deranged the system has become. I do respect the forensic expertise of Dr. Wecht. However, the question in Dr. Pou's case was from the realm of catastrophic medicine and not a classic forensic matter.

Foti did not only maltreat the distinguished and heroic physician. This insane persecution was foremost cruel to numerous patients of Dr. Pou. Many suffering patients were unjustly deprived of quality medical care. It happened since the politician who was supposed to protect the rights of those patients decided to embark on a personal power trip instead. Highly trained and compassionate physicians are not disposable or replaceable. It takes much more to become a good doctor than to struggle through a few years of a law school, run the "exemplary" prison and attach a shining sheriff's badge to one's shirt.