Five Days at Memorial - Sheri Fink

Five Days at Memorial

By Sheri Fink

  • Release Date: 2013-09-10
  • Genre: Social Science
Score: 4
From 290 Ratings


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


  • Verbose

    By russ kram
    To detailed
  • Five Days at Memorial

    By Little Daisey Do
    Very exciting moment by moment depiction of a disturbing event- hard to put down-thought provoking
  • Gut-wrenching and fantastic

    By mzspaztastic
    Imagine this scenario: You’re stuck in a hospital without electricity, food, or proper resources to care for your patients. Some are going to die and there’s nothing you can do about it. Would you help ease their pain by euthanizing them, or hold out hope that help will arrive? And how would you decide which people to give the drugs to and which ones to rescue? These are, on the surface, the questions that the doctors at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans asked themselves while they waited out Hurricane Katrina. But what if there was more to the story than that? What if, in actuality, the patients weren’t about to die? These questions are exactly what author Sheri Fink set out to do when she started interviewing the hundreds of witnesses that helped recreate their five days in hell. Their choices would affect them forever, and for some would result in criminal charges. When I first started reading this book, I couldn’t decide what side of the ethical line I stood. On the one hand, killing someone without their consent is wrong, but on the other hand, I can’t even imagine being put in a situation that requires even thinking about such a thing, so who am I to judge? But as I started reading the book, or more accurately, as I started taking this journey, I found myself feeling every possible emotion a person can feel when reading a book. I started out sad, then turned sympathetic, followed immediately by horror, and ending with anger. As the facts unravelled, I found myself completely shocked by the utter breakdown in communication and both the hospital and government’s failure to prepare for such an event. Five Days At Memorial is an important and difficult read. Hurricane Katrina blew in to New Orleans and the city is still recovering, and so this book is an important part our American history. While it shines a light on our government and corporate failures, it also highlights the resiliency of the human spirit and will to survive. I highly recommend this book, but I do so with the warning that it addresses some very important and controversial issues involving end-of-life care and, in all honesty, will leave you a bit outraged.
  • Excellent

    By Kimmie 0211
    This book is great! I'm studying Emergency Management and this is a real eye opener of what might be ahead in my career. I strongly recommend this book to anyone in the field as well as everyone else.
  • Really fantastic writing

    By Gaylagal2
    Since purchasing "Five Days At Memorial" I've been glued to this book. It's one of those rare reads that not only is hard to physically put down, but you're constantly thinking and re-thinking it over and a good way. The story is of course heartbreaking and extremely well investigated. Ms Fink writes in such a way that you feel as if you are write there, standing along side the nurses, doctors, patients, rescuers and everyone else. Emotionally feeling what they endured. I just can't stress enough of what a well written, thought provoking book this is. By far the best nonfiction of 2013!
  • Outstanding,,,,

    By Magggie:()
    This book is very thought provoking. I have worked in a hospital all of my life and I am not sure what I would have done. The author does an amazing job of presenting the story from all sides so.that readers are able to make their own decisions about what is right and what is wrong. Loved it!!!!!!