Thursday, September 26, 2013
Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink
Book: Five Days at Memorial
Author: Sheri Fink
Recommended To: Everyone who likes non-fiction
I found this book in the "Hot Reads" section of my library which just means that it is brand new and you can only check it out for two weeks instead of three weeks. Five Days at Memorial is not light-hearted. It is a well-researched behemoth that chronicles Memorial Hospital's experience during Hurricane Katrina.
The first half of the book is about the experiences of the nurses, doctors, patients and family members at Memorial during Katrina and after. The second half is about the grand jury indictment of Dr. Pou and two nurses who injected their patients with morphine and Versed to hasten their deaths.
This book was upsetting in a variety of ways. Memorial was unprepared for a disaster of Katrina's size, but it wasn't that unprepared. After the investigation started and all of the people at Memorial were evacuated, crews found days worth of food and water supplies and bottles of oxygen that were not used to assist patients. The most poignant part of this book was when the author explained that although many patients died during Katrina, some of the other hospitals only lost a few patients compared the the 40+ patients who died at Memorial.
In general, Memorial is a very fair book. No one party is painted as good or evil and the book is very multifaceted. Some may even say that this book is exhaustively researched, even down to the support letters that Dr. Pou received after she was indicted. I skipped some of those parts.
In all, this was a good, thorough read that painted a devastating picture of the choices faced by medical personnel during Katrina.