Five Days at Memorial - Sheri Fink

Five Days at Memorial

By Sheri Fink

  • Release Date: 2013-09-10
  • Genre: Social Science
Score: 4
4
From 163 Ratings

Description

Pulitzer Prize winner Sheri Fink’s landmark investigation of patient deaths at a New Orleans hospital ravaged by Hurricane Katrina – and her suspenseful portrayal of the quest for truth and justice.

In the tradition of the best investigative journalism, physician and reporter Sheri Fink reconstructs 5 days at Memorial Medical Center and draws the reader into the lives of those who struggled mightily to survive and maintain life amid chaos.

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 of those caregivers faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths.

Five Days at Memorial, the culmination of six years of reporting, 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.

In a voice at once involving and fair, masterful and intimate, Fink exposes the hidden dilemmas of end-of-life care and reveals just how ill-prepared we are for the impact of large-scale disasters—and how we can do better. A remarkable book, engrossing from start to finish, Five Days at Memorial radically transforms your understanding of human nature in crisis.

One of The New York Times' Best Ten Books of the Year

Reviews

  • Five Days at Memorial

    5
    By Little Daisey Do
    Very exciting moment by moment depiction of a disturbing event- hard to put down-thought provoking
  • Gut-wrenching and fantastic

    5
    By mzspaztastic
    Imagine this scenario: You’re stuck in a hospital without electricity, food, or proper resources to care for your patients. Some are going to die and there’s nothing you can do about it. Would you help ease their pain by euthanizing them, or hold out hope that help will arrive? And how would you decide which people to give the drugs to and which ones to rescue? These are, on the surface, the questions that the doctors at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans asked themselves while they waited out Hurricane Katrina. But what if there was more to the story than that? What if, in actuality, the patients weren’t about to die? These questions are exactly what author Sheri Fink set out to do when she started interviewing the hundreds of witnesses that helped recreate their five days in hell. Their choices would affect them forever, and for some would result in criminal charges. When I first started reading this book, I couldn’t decide what side of the ethical line I stood. On the one hand, killing someone without their consent is wrong, but on the other hand, I can’t even imagine being put in a situation that requires even thinking about such a thing, so who am I to judge? But as I started reading the book, or more accurately, as I started taking this journey, I found myself feeling every possible emotion a person can feel when reading a book. I started out sad, then turned sympathetic, followed immediately by horror, and ending with anger. As the facts unravelled, I found myself completely shocked by the utter breakdown in communication and both the hospital and government’s failure to prepare for such an event. Five Days At Memorial is an important and difficult read. Hurricane Katrina blew in to New Orleans and the city is still recovering, and so this book is an important part our American history. While it shines a light on our government and corporate failures, it also highlights the resiliency of the human spirit and will to survive. I highly recommend this book, but I do so with the warning that it addresses some very important and controversial issues involving end-of-life care and, in all honesty, will leave you a bit outraged.
  • Excellent

    5
    By Kimmie 0211
    This book is great! I'm studying Emergency Management and this is a real eye opener of what might be ahead in my career. I strongly recommend this book to anyone in the field as well as everyone else.
  • Really fantastic writing

    5
    By Gaylagal2
    Since purchasing "Five Days At Memorial" I've been glued to this book. It's one of those rare reads that not only is hard to physically put down, but you're constantly thinking and re-thinking it over and over...in a good way. The story is of course heartbreaking and extremely well investigated. Ms Fink writes in such a way that you feel as if you are write there, standing along side the nurses, doctors, patients, rescuers and everyone else. Emotionally feeling what they endured. I just can't stress enough of what a well written, thought provoking book this is. By far the best nonfiction of 2013!
  • Outstanding,,,,

    5
    By Magggie:()
    This book is very thought provoking. I have worked in a hospital all of my life and I am not sure what I would have done. The author does an amazing job of presenting the story from all sides so.that readers are able to make their own decisions about what is right and what is wrong. Loved it!!!!!!