Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink

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I am writing this review on a day when we are experiencing a tornado warning in Milwaukee. That just brings home the fact that one never knows when a disaster may strike you or your city and how you and everyone else will respond.

Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink is a well written account of the events at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans that happened in the 5 days during and after Hurricane Katrina. The author has previously won a Pulitzer Prize for her work and I can understand why. The book is thoughtful, balanced and carefully considers the circumstances, ethics and morals involved in what appears to be the euthanasia of up to 9 patients. The author gives you enough information to consider the evidence for yourself, based on years of research and extensive interviews with many of the people involved.

The profiles of the major actors in this real life drama are fascinating. After reading about them I often found myself wondering what kind of decisions I would make after days of working under primitive conditions with little sleep and many ill people needing help that seemed a long time coming. For example, if only a few people can be evacuated at a time, who gets to go first? The sickest, who might need pieces of heavy medical equipment and have a poor chance of survival or the people who aren't as badly off? One can make an ethical case for both scenarios.

I found Five Days at Memorial to be gripping and worthwhile.

Pat @ Central

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This page contains a single entry by Jacki published on December 9, 2013 9:51 AM.

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