The medical staff at the New Orleans prison complex heroically battles unspeakable conditions as Hurricane Katrina rips through the city.
Like a descent into a modern-day Hell, Dr. Inglese's account describes the nightmare that unfolded at a crowded prison complex in Katrina's wake. Saddled with 7,000 rioting inmates, hundreds more evacuated families, and faced with no electrical power, dwindling food and water supplies and a rising level of contaminated floodwater, medical director Inglese and his coworkers demonstrated resourcefulness, determination and courage. During their five-day ordeal, they managed to deliver babies, treat several broken limbs, a heart attack, numerous infections and many other real as well as faked illnesses from both inmates and deputies. During this time, they were faced with horrific sanitary conditions, oppressive heat and the real possibility that the very inmates they were struggling to care for would break free and kill them. Dr. Inglese recounts the story with a dispassionate reserve that heightens our sense of shock at the squalor. Even more appalling than the behavior of the rioting inmates was the greed and cowardice of some deputies who abandoned their posts, then shoved past women and children in an effort to save their own skins. Nevertheless, Dr. Inglese also finds numerous examples of selfless courage among the prison's medical staff, many of whom were laboring under dehydration, exhaustion and the near-certain knowledge that their own homes had been destroyed in the brutal storm. Wading through this striking juxtaposition of self-sacrifice and callous self-interest, the reader will wonder how, faced with the same desperate circumstances, he or she might react under such hellish conditions.
An eye-opening, provocative journey into human frailty and heroism.