Five Days at Memorial : Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, Paperback

Five Days at Memorial : Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital Paperback

5 out of 5 (1 rating)


In the tradition of the best writing on human behaviour and moral choices in the face of disaster, physician and reporter Sheri Fink reconstructs five days at New Orleans' Memorial Medical Center during Hurricane Katrina and draws the reader into the lives of those who struggled mightily to survive and to maintain life amidst 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 health professionals 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 our understanding of human nature in crisis.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 576 pages, illustrations (black and white)
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: True stories
  • ISBN: 9781782393740



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This book by a doctor and investigative reporter tells what happened at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans after Katrina struck in August 2005. It is tremendously well-researched. A doctor and two nurses as the people remaining at the hospital were preparing to leave--and while patients were being evacuated--took it upon themselves to inject 8 or 9 patients with mrophine and another drug, and said patients died and the doctor and nurses were then evacuated. The book details what happened, and one learns what support went to the injectors not only by the public but by many doctors who apparently figured doctors whould be supported, no matter what they did. No doubt Dr. Pou was a good person, but the question is should she have in effect murdered patients, even though people were being steadily evacuated and even though there were still resources at the hospital. What happened to the persons who did the deeds of death and the reaction to them makes for a chilling story. This book is one of the most improtant books I have read and throws light on what view some have on life issues.

Also by Sheri Lee Fink