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Katrina tort suit has implications for all hospitals

Once the power blinked out, Althea LaCoste's lungs were on their own. She struggled to breathe without the help of a respirator, and even a team of nurses hand-bagging air into her ailing lungs couldn't save her, according to court documents. LaCoste, 73, died before she could be evacuated from Pendleton Memorial Methodist Hospital in the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina. LaCoste's death 4½ years ago is at the center of a lawsuit being heard in Louisiana that could have far-reaching implications for hospitals across the country.