Five Days at Memorial
Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The award-winning book that inspired an Apple Original series from Apple TV+ • A landmark investigation of patient deaths at a New Orleans hospital ravaged by Hurricane Katrina—and the suspenseful portrayal of the quest for truth and justice—from a Pulitzer Prize–winning physician and reporter
“An amazing tale, as inexorable as a Greek tragedy and as gripping as a whodunit.”—Dallas Morning News
After Hurricane Katrina struck and power failed, amid rising floodwaters and heat, exhausted staff at Memorial Medical Center designated certain patients last for rescue. Months later, a doctor and two nurses were arrested and accused of injecting some of those patients with life-ending drugs.
Five Days at Memorial, the culmination of six years of reporting by Pulitzer Prize winner Sheri Fink, unspools the mystery, bringing us inside a hospital fighting for its life and into the most charged questions in health care: which patients should be prioritized, and can health care professionals ever be excused for hastening death?
Transforming our understanding of human nature in crisis, Five Days at Memorial exposes the hidden dilemmas of end-of-life care and reveals how ill-prepared we are for large-scale disasters—and how we can do better.
ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Chicago Tribune, Seattle Times, Entertainment Weekly, Christian Science Monitor, Kansas City Star
WINNER: National Book Critics Circle Award, J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award, Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Ridenhour Book Prize, American Medical Writers Association Medical Book Award, National Association of Science Writers Science in Society Award
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
We were stunned by this shocking exposé of what really happened at a New Orleans hospital during the chaotic days following Hurricane Katrina. Physician and Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Sheri Fink weaves the lived experiences of real-life heroes, victims, and everyone in between into her account of one hospital—Memorial Medical Center—as it comes under siege from flooding, power failure, and an angry public. We were floored by the masterful way she conveys the sense of urgency and despair of sleepless doctors, nurses, and administrators working relentlessly to triage hurt and dying patients while getting the runaround from their parent corporation and the U.S. government. Meticulously researched and full of heart-racing action, Five Days at Memorial is a chilling look at what can happen to our fragile healthcare system under the worst circumstances.
"They were in a war zone," Fink (War Hospital: A True Story of Surgery and Survival) writes of those stranded inside New Orleans' Memorial Medical Center in the calamitous wake of Hurricane Katrina. In this astonishing blend of Pulitzer Prize winning journalism (Fink, who also has an M.D. and Ph.D., won the award for the investigative reporting on which this book is based) and breathtaking narration, she chronicles the chaotic evacuation of the hospital and the agonizing ethical, physical, and emotional quandaries facing Memorial nurses and doctors, including a nightmarish triage process that led to the controversial decision to inject critically ill patients with fatal doses of morphine in order to refocus attention on those with a chance of surviving. An alarming 45 bodies were recovered from the crippled hospital, nine of which were deemed suspected victims of euthanasia. Yet investigators realized that unraveling the tragedies was "as impossible as collecting fragments of a fractured mirror and then, somehow, inferring what image had once appeared there." Some members of the medical staff were charged with murder, but a grand jury acquitted them. Plenty of hard-earned lessons were learned from the stunningly mismanaged response to the disaster, yet Fink acknowledges that for the families of those who never made it out of Memorial, the "war against nature" could only be considered a loss.
Absolutely fascinating! Excellent author! A must read, you won’t be disappointed……
Five Days at Memorial
Very exciting moment by moment depiction of a disturbing event- hard to put down-thought provoking