FIVE DAYS AT MEMORIAL by Sheri Fink
Kirkus Star

FIVE DAYS AT MEMORIAL

Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital

KIRKUS REVIEW

Pulitzer Prize–winning medical journalist/investigator Fink (War Hospital, 2003) submits a sophisticated, detailed recounting of what happened at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina.

Under calamitous, lethal circumstances, the staff at Memorial did a remarkable job of saving many lives in the wake of Hurricane Katrina—though others would point out they didn’t have the street smarts of the staff at Charity Hospital, whose creativeness resulted in far fewer deaths. Fink draws those few days in the hospital’s life with a fine, lively pen, providing stunningly framed vignettes of activities in the hospital and sharp pocket profiles of many of the characters. She gives measured consideration to such explosive issues as class and race discrimination in medicine, end-of-life care, medical rationing and euthanasia, and she presents the injection of some patients with a cocktail of drugs to reduce their breathing in such a manner that readers will be able to fully fashion their own opinions. The book is an artful blend of drama and philosophy: When do normal standards no longer apply? what if doing something seems right but doesn’t feel right? In the ensuing investigation of one doctor, who is clearly the fall guy (or woman, as it were), Fink circles all the players, successfully giving much-needed perspective to their views. The obvious villains are the usual suspects: nature, for sending Katrina forth; big business, in the guise of Memorial owner Tenet Healthcare, for its failure to act and subsequent guilty posturing; and government, feds to local, for the bungling incompetence that led to dozens of deaths. The street thugs and looters didn’t help much, either.

With apparent effortlessness, Fink tells the Memorial story with cogency and atmosphere.

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-307-71896-9
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2013




BEST BOOKS OF 2013 ON POLITICS, CURRENT AFFAIRS AND SOCIAL SCIENCES:

Nonfiction GUN GUYS by Dan Baum
by Dan Baum
Nonfiction TOMS RIVER by Dan Fagin
by Dan Fagin
Nonfiction FIVE DAYS AT MEMORIAL by Sheri Fink
by Sheri Fink
Nonfiction THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE by David Finkel
by David Finkel

OUR CRITICS' TAKES ON MORE BESTSELLERS

See full list >
Cover art for FACE THE MUSIC
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for IN PARADISE
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for DUCK & GOOSE GO TO THE BEACH
VERDICT:
BORROW IT
Cover art for THE DEATH OF MONEY
VERDICT:
BORROW IT

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

IndieTRUE MEDICAL DETECTIVE STORIES by Clifton K. Meador
by Clifton K. Meador
NonfictionOVER DOSE by Jay S. Cohen
by Jay S. Cohen
NonfictionRESIDENT ON CALL by Scott A. Rivkees
by Scott A. Rivkees