Thursday, January 16, 2014

Book Review: Five Days at Memorial

One of my New Year resolutions is to read more nonfiction. I started off with a bang - Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink is a harrowing read. Sheri Fink, a physician and reporter plops us in the middle of Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters as the storm ravaged Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans. We meet the patients and the nurses who struggled to survive amidst chaos.

Floodwaters rose, power failed, heat climbed, and nurses and doctors "chose to designate certain patients for last rescue."  The book "brings the reader into a hospital fighting for its life and into a conversation about health care rationing."  cover blurb

Health professionals faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten death.  There were end of life dilemmas and a question of preparedness for large scale disaster.

Sheri Fink writes a thorough and fair portrait of Five Days at Memorial.  I came away in awe of what transpired and satisfied with final conclusions. No doubt others who read this book will have different opinions. This book is a tough but worthwhile read, and I can only imagine conditions at Memorial were even worse than described during those five horrific days ... the stench, the fear, the exhaustion.  Strength of human spirit prevails.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure this book is terrific. I've read other accounts of the events that took place in that hospital, and as an amateur radio operator, was privy to some of the communications and emergencies that arose as they were happening. An amazing heart-wrenching experience.