Customer Reviews for

Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

21 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

This book lives up to the hype it's getting. I received an adva

This book lives up to the hype it's getting. I received an advance copy of this and found it fascinating reading. I remember hearing about this hospital and the people trapped there in the New Orleans flooding after Katrina, but Sherry Fink's description of the conditi...
This book lives up to the hype it's getting. I received an advance copy of this and found it fascinating reading. I remember hearing about this hospital and the people trapped there in the New Orleans flooding after Katrina, but Sherry Fink's description of the conditions in the hospital really brings home to me how awful it must have been. The author apparently researched the subject intensively and provides details about the hospital and the people who spent 5 days in the hospital during and after Katrina. She draws no conclusions about what happened, just presents the facts and lets the reader decide for him or her self.
The book lived up to my expectations in that it was well written and almost read like a novel. Even though I knew what had happened at Memorial Hospital after the storm, I found the book compelling reading. She fleshes out the personnel so the reader gets to know the doctors, nurses and patients.
The only objection I had to the book was the amount of time the author spent on the history of euthansia and the debates about it in the past. It was near the end of the book, and I really just skimmed those few pages. Otherwise it is a great read, and thought provoking as well. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in Katrina, disaster medicine and medical ethics.

posted by MdExTx on September 10, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

Boo

Well, thanks to the two plot spoiling reviews, especially the one revealling the ending, there is no need to buy the book. Thanks for saving me money. Oh, bn, when are you ever going to do something to these plot spoilers? Dont you realize how much money they are costin...
Well, thanks to the two plot spoiling reviews, especially the one revealling the ending, there is no need to buy the book. Thanks for saving me money. Oh, bn, when are you ever going to do something to these plot spoilers? Dont you realize how much money they are costing you in lost sales by their constant revealing of plots?

posted by 8888649 on September 11, 2013

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  • Posted September 10, 2013

    This book lives up to the hype it's getting. I received an adva

    This book lives up to the hype it's getting. I received an advance copy of this and found it fascinating reading. I remember hearing about this hospital and the people trapped there in the New Orleans flooding after Katrina, but Sherry Fink's description of the conditions in the hospital really brings home to me how awful it must have been. The author apparently researched the subject intensively and provides details about the hospital and the people who spent 5 days in the hospital during and after Katrina. She draws no conclusions about what happened, just presents the facts and lets the reader decide for him or her self.
    The book lived up to my expectations in that it was well written and almost read like a novel. Even though I knew what had happened at Memorial Hospital after the storm, I found the book compelling reading. She fleshes out the personnel so the reader gets to know the doctors, nurses and patients.
    The only objection I had to the book was the amount of time the author spent on the history of euthansia and the debates about it in the past. It was near the end of the book, and I really just skimmed those few pages. Otherwise it is a great read, and thought provoking as well. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in Katrina, disaster medicine and medical ethics.

    21 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 2, 2013

    Reading it is living it. I could not put it down for the first h

    Reading it is living it.
    I could not put it down for the first half of the book, in fact I had to google some pictures of New Orleans and the hospital to understand the location and how everything was connected geographically.  This book is well researched and carefully crafted.  The reason it slows in the second half is only to do with the mind-boggling facts of the first half.  It surely gives us all pause as to what we would do in the same situation.  After being here in New Jersey after Sandy, this book really hit much closer to home than it would have before.  

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2013

    Compelling

    This story captured the horror of dealing with the events surrounding Katrina along with the legal and moral issues involving a medical situational crisis. The end of life issues are broader than this country seems willing to face. Most depressing is that no action has been taken to learn and take action to prevent much of what came to light in this investigation. It would cost too much money to plan and train for further disasters.

    Fink is a great journalist and the book moves right along.
    +

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2013

    Fascinating and disturbing.

    While the detail can overwhelm at times, the author is grappling with a complex and fraught subject where too little detail would be worse. As we become increasingly dependent on organizations for our care, this book is a compelling read for the questions it raises. How will care be handled in extreme circumstances? How able will people and organizations be at adapting to extreme circumstances when the system fails? Well written, and thoughtfully presented.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2013

    Really well written & does a good job at not just reflecting

    Really well written & does a good job at not just reflecting the situation at Memorial but raising some VERY good questions that most of us have never had to really consider.
    I lived through Katrina, albeit on the "Northshore, with a 72 year old grandfather suffering from Alzheimers. VERY VERY difficult with no running water or electricity. How much more difficult for Doctors watching even older patients struggle with no hope?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2014

    The Pulitzer Prize winning non-fiction novel Five Days at Memori

    The Pulitzer Prize winning non-fiction novel Five Days at Memorial is a chronological recap of the events that occurred at Memorial Hospital during the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. The descriptions that Sheri Fink composed captivated me, making me experience an atmosphere as though I personally had been at Memorial Hospital. Her descriptive citation of the story gave me the opportunity to perceive events through the eyes of doctors, patients, investigators, and prosecutors. Although the mood of the events taking place was disheartening, I could not help but to be intrigued by the details of the event. Growing up during events such as 9/11 and Katrina, our generation’s undeveloped and innocent minds were only capable of acknowledging the event, not comprehending the details and stories of the aftermath. Personally, I felt obligated to finally take the initiative and inform myself on the true devastation that was a result of hurricane Katrina. In saying this, I would highly recommend this book for those who grew up only seeing Katrina as a storm. 
    For a quick description of the plot, Memorial Hospital was struck by hurricane Katrina and due to breaks in a nearby levee, 15 foot flood water surrounded the building. The hospital staff soon found out when evacuations were moving quickly enough that the hospital was ill prepared to take care of patients. With multiple situations such as looters, power outages, and supply shortages, questions about euthanasia arose as terminally ill patients who seemed would not be leaving the hospital in time were suffering. The novel goes on to discuss the aftermath and investigation of what truly happened inside of Memorial Hospital. A majority of the story revolves around Dr. Anna Pou, but a mix of stories from numerous sources gives the reader multiple pathways to take their opinion of the story and build a foundation of evidence to support it. Fink’s mass research of this story paid off with the quality and quantity of material that was included in the novel. Depictions of the novel were perfectly described by giving the reader a picture of how truly awful the setting was while not being overly graphic with details that could be applied to the situation. Overall, Fink’s coverage of the complete story and the investigation afterwards answers every question that the reader could have. It accomplishes the purpose of informing the reader of a piece of American history that most of us have now long forgotten, and reminds us of the complex situations that Americans overcame in life altering circumstances.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2013

    Fascinating - a bit too long

    While one might think that conditions in a New Orleans hospital during Katrina were bad, it was worse than you might think. The recounting of the five days after the hurricane struck (and then the legal ramifications afterwards that played out afterwards) seem more like a fictional disaster movie than a real life happening.

    In the end, the book focuses on a questionable decision by a physician who had been working heroically up until that point. Wise, unwise, forgivable, unforgivable?

    My one modest complaint is that I thought that the editors could have pared down the book modestly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2013

    Great Read

    Well written and researched book.
    It helped to have previously read 'DELUGE" by Brinkley to place things in context.

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