Makes a great book club selection. Extremely thought provoking and will spark lots of discussion. Raises many questions about ethics, extreme situations and who should be accountable.
First reaction in a disaster is "DO SOMETHING". Sometimes it's hard to get it right. Second guessing is always easier.
Heavy going at times.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Read July 2014
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?"
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