Five Days at Memorial; Sheri Fink
Crown - Random House Audio - 2013
Five Days at Memorial was an eye opening account of what happened at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans during and immediately following Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005. The author, Sheri Fink, a doctor and medical journalist, who had worked in disaster relief in the past, spent six years investigating what led to the deaths of 20% of the patients at the hospital who were never evacuated. Their bodies instead were housed in a makeshift morgue on one of the higher floors of the storm ravaged medical center.
Just what was the disaster and evacuation plan for the medical center? Who made the critical life and death decisions during the hurricane as to which patients would be transferred out and which would be left to die?
When the power went out and the generators eventually died, chaos resulted, and it appears that desperate times called for desperate measures. A doctor and two nurses were accused of euthanizing the sickest patients by over-medicating them and hastening their deaths.
What a fascinating story! The author reports the tragic story in a totally factual and unbiased manner, taking no sides and letting the reader draw their own conclusions. The audiobook, read by Kirsten Potter was riveting. Seeing to how various people reacted in desperate times was an interesting look at human behavior in crisis. I do wish that some of the key staff, family members and patients were more fully developed, but I can understand that Fink's intent was to report her findings and not delve deep into the psyches and backgrounds of the people involved.
A scary look at just how unprepared one hospital was when disaster struck.
Read It! 4.5/5 stars