Judge OKs $25 million Katrina hospital settlement

A New Orleans judge gave preliminary approval Friday for a $25 million settlement for patients and visitors at Memorial Medical Center during Hurricane Katrina, the investigative website ProPublica reports.

The bodies of 45 patients were found at the hospital after the 2005 storm, and doctors have said they hastened some patients' deaths. In addition, 187 patients and some 800 visitors were trapped for days in the hospital after the storm.

A class-action lawsuit against the hospital's owner alleges that the hospital should have planned better for emergency evacuations and backup power.

The settlement would release the Tenet Healthcare Corp. from future claims by the patients and visitors. The families of some of the patients who died, however, are pursuing separate legal actions.