Five Days at Memorial

Five Days at Memorial

Life and Death in A Storm-ravaged Hospital

Book - 2013
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Fink provides a landmark investigation of patient deaths at a New Orleans hospital ravaged by Hurricane Katrina-- and a suspenseful portrayal of the quest for truth and justice. After Katrina struck and the floodwaters rose, the power failed, and the heat climbed, exhausted caregivers chose to designate certain patients last for rescue. Months later, several health professionals faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths. Fink unspools the mystery of what happened in those days, bringing the reader into a hospital fighting for its life and into a conversation about the most terrifying form of health care rationing.
Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, [2013]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780307718969
Characteristics: xviii, 558 pages : map ; 25 cm


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Feb 19, 2018

First reaction in a disaster is "DO SOMETHING". Sometimes it's hard to get it right. Second guessing is always easier.

Jan 26, 2018

Heavy going at times.

Nov 05, 2017

We expect to be gripped by books of fiction. We expect that they will leave us sitting at the edge of our chair, biting our nails, gripped by suspense. We hav to not expect this same degree of intensity in non-fiction books. But, non the less, there are exceptions. Consider for example this account of what transpired when Hurricane Katrina, the deadliest US hurricane, struck the Louisiana coast on August 29, 2005.
"Five Days at Memorial" is the story of a New Orleans hospital that lay in its destructive path.The hospital’s municipal power supply failed forcing it to rely on backup generation. It too failed after a short period of time leaving hospital without light; without air conditioning; without elevators; without the electricity need to power a myriad of electrical equipment required to keep seriously ill patients alive. Streets were flooded so evacuation by ambulance was out of the question. Evacuation by helicopter was botched and bungled. The evening air was punctuated with the sound of gunfire --- the fear of looters was endemic among the hospitals staff. All of a sudden, an American hospital had been plunged into the third world.There is, of course, much more to the book that. Why was the hospital not better prepared than it was. Had the nurses and doctors been better prepared. Were good decisions made? Of course great effort was made to dish out blame for what had gone wrong that August and September in New Orleans.

AL_HOLLYR Aug 03, 2017

What happened to the most vulnerable populations during Hurricane Katrina? Fink offers one answer with this gripping narrative of impossible choices and tragedy at Memorial Hospital. Backed by impressive research and told from multiple perspectives, Fink's book confronts readers with the horrifying reality of a hospital in the midst of a natural disaster.

Apr 06, 2017

A fascinating read from cover to cover, esp if you are in the health care and emergency services profession. Sheri Fink researched this book from all angles: the patient, their family, the healthcare providers, and the administrators. Very well written, not a typical journalist-authored book.
Memorial Hospital spent five days in the wake of Hurricane Katrina without power, flooded and without preparation in place for a large-scale disaster. When rescue finally arrived, 39 of it's end-of-life patients lay dead. Was it palliative care and comfort? Was it euthanasia? A fascinating book about human nature in crisis. Highly recommend.

Jan 28, 2017

From my experience reading this book, it helps to read the last five pages first, to get a better sense of what motived the author. With that purpose in mind, all those dramatic sometimes heart wrenching events depicted will all seem to have more bone and flesh - if not already so. Some important questions, the author is attempting to find the answers for, an invitation to participate, this book, to all of us. It is a milestone.

Aug 04, 2016

Very thick book but is brings the reader into the chaos and fast decision making the situation calls for. The end of life issues are also part of the book that are riveting in them selves.

Jul 26, 2014

Read July 2014
Detailed, suspenseful

A patron review from the Adult Summer Game: "This is an intriguing investigative review of the events following Katrina at a city hospital in New Orleans. The first part of the book is a chronology of events as experienced by the health care workers, and the second half is an objective review of circumstances as seen by investigators. At it's heart is a question that is always timely: how do we provide the best care to the sickest people?"

May 28, 2014

Details the drama unfolding in a very unprepared (due mostly to costs and inaction) hospital during and after Katrina. Lots of incredible, hard-to-believe details about the lives of those trapped during the aftermath of the storm.

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