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Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death at a Storm-ravaged Hospital Paperback – 6 Feb 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; Main edition (6 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782393749
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782393740
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 4.2 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 126,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Extraordinary... A profound and unforgettable piece of journalism --Sunday Times



Gripping... an illuminating investigation into the chaos that consumed a hospital during Hurricane Katrina... It reminds an international audience that literature can soar to artistic and intellectual heights undreamed of in other realms of media. --Independent



[A] superb and remarkable book... Gripping --Mail on Sunday



A tight, provocative and gripping read --Observer



An impressive and important book --Spectator



Riveting --Financial Times



Masterfully and compassionately reported and as gripping as a thriller, the book poses reverberating questions about end-of-life care, race discrimination in medicine and how individuals and institutions break down during disasters. --New York Times



In this astonishing blend of Pulitzer-Prize winning journalism and breathtaking narration, [Fink] chronicles the chaotic evacuation of the hospital and the agonizing ethical, physical and emotional quandaries facing Memorial nurses and doctors --Publishers Weekly, Starred Review



Fink offers a stunning re-creation of the storm, its aftermath, and the investigation that followed... Both a breathtaking read and an essential book for understanding how people behave in times of crisis --Booklist, Starred Review



Fink draws those few days in the hospital's life with a fine, lively pen, providing stunningly framed vignettes of activities in the hospital and sharp pocket profiles of many of the characters --Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

About the Author

Sheri Fink's reporting has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Magazine Award, and the Overseas Press Club Lowell Thomas Award, among other journalism prizes. Fink, a former relief worker in disaster and conflict zones, received her MD and PhD from Stanford University. Her first book, War Hospital, is about medical professionals under siege during the genocide in Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina.


Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
"Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital" by Sheri Fink is one of the books that you will think a lot after you will read it. The author tells us a story of events that happened in one of the New Orleans hospitals where medical staff were accused of euthanizing patients after Hurricane Katrina happened.

The story is split in two parts; the first explaining what was happening in the hospital during the hurricane while in second is described legal process that was held several years after these incidents happened. The main book character is Dr. Anna Pou, who worked back then in the hospital and was subsequently arrested. The author is telling her story based on views of many people who were part of the incident and although this was a complex story she done good work combining all those views into an overwhelming story that is easy to follow.

It's evident how well researched this book was and the author managed to, in an impressive way, speak about the moral dilemmas that are almost essential part of such human tragedies. It's almost inconceivable how much all human technology and the progress we have made in thousands of years had crumbled to pieces after this tragedy occurred, how miserable was the planning before and reactions were after the tragedy happened. Some things are almost bizarre, like the issue that all water, food and energy supplies were located below the sea level, in the city for which it's known under which kind of flooding threat is constantly exposed, making them instantly unusable after the disaster occurred. Or lack of any evacuation plan for patients who were in the hospitals resulting in complete chaos due to the lack of priorities which patients should be given the fastest save based on disease severity.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Divides into three stages. First is the story of the five days up to Sept 1st 2005 after Katrina at Memorial hospital in New Orleans. The full horror and danger of the circumstances are conveyed along with the sheer heroism and devotion to duty which the medical staff showed. Without this knowledge what happened next cannot be understood so it is worth sticking with its confusions and complexities. Second is the account of how the authorities tried to bring one doctor and two nurses to trial for second degree murder on allegations of 'euthanising' patients who could not be rescued from the hospital. I found myself repeatedly pulled in contrary directions and the writer skilfully takes the reader through all the ethical ambivalence of the case with both the medical and non-medical communities divided in their views on what happened and the ultimate grand jury verdict. Third is an interesting and disturbing consideration of the lessons of Katrina and other disasters for our preparedness in the future to meet natural and health crises where medical resources will be limited.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this book compelling. As a Registered Nurse practising on the Gulf Coast for forty years I know the system and the terrain and the weather risks. As a Nursing Administrator I had to make decisions about evacuation of patients, transportation and the care of staff during these conditions. I must say I cried and found the situation harrowing. I thank God that I never had to make the ultimate decision these Nurses and Doctors had to contemplate.
I have thought long and hard about this and I seriously believe, that in this world of severe weather issues, infectious epidemics and terrorism all over the world, we the healthcare providers must have urgent dialogue about the final triage. Don't leave it to the desperate people left on site to make these decisions.
God Bless the patients and staff involved. God help those people at the corporation who failed to act!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My daughter,who is a trauma nurse at San Francisco General Hospital,told me about the book,and I bought it for her,but she suggested that I read it first.I did,and found it a compelling read.It describes perfectly what must have been a truly terrifying period for those poor souls caught up in it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A straight reporting of what went on at Memorial, during and immediately after Hurricane Katrina.
The reader is left to come to his or her own conclusions.
Who knows how we would act under such stress? One would like to think that one would act with more compassion, who knows?
This is a horrifying account - how often is this scenario acted out in our hospitals, when there is no hurricane?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A well researched and thorough account of events. The loss of one star was purely because, whilst the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was riveting, the legal aspect, for me, was not so. For those who like investigative and legal procedures it would be a five start book.
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Format: Paperback
Sheri Fink, a journalist with a medical qualification, has written an excellent and compelling account of the circumstances surrounding the deaths of multiple patients, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans. The book is divided into two main sections. The first gives a very detailed and vividly-presented account of what happened, focusing on the clinical staff and the patients, both those who survived and those who died, many of whom were elderly and with complex conditions. The essence of what happened is that many of these patients were allegedly injected with large doses of morphine and midazolam, apparently to hasten their deaths when the hospital had been without power and air-conditioning and had been sweltering in 100 degree + heat for five days - and with the surrounding areas flooded, lawless, and seemingly abandoned by the government. The second half of the book deals with the criminal case taken against Dr Anna Pou and two nursing colleagues, who were alleged to have administered the injections - a case which the Grand Jury ultimately decided to drop, leaving the charges unproven. Fink presents a very difficult situation and an almost impossible set of considerations regarding end of life care and euthanasia with clarity. Her book is a real page-turner and sets out the major ethical and moral dilemmas involved with compassion. Fascinating and very readable.
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