For many Americans, Hurricane Katrina was defined by the images of people stranded on rooftops, wading through neck-deep water, or standing wretchedly in the iconic Superdome. But for those living in New Orleans and the surrounding area, these images were just the beginning. As residents tried to put their lives back together in the weeks that followed, those who were unable to evacuate also faced coming to terms with the raw experiences of those harrowing days in the city as they waited for help to arrive. Many who carried the greatest burdens were those who had taken on the greatest responsibilities: public servants, security professionals and health workers.
As was the case with the police force, questions were raised after the catastrophe about the emergency response of medical professionals staffing various hospitals. While some weathered the hurricane with notable success, others were not as prepared to confront the storm. One of the most notable cases was Memorial Medical Center, which sat in an area heavily flooded by Lake Pontchartrain. While nearby Charity Hospital lost only eight of about 350 patients, 45 of the fewer than 300 patients at Memorial died during the storm and its aftermath. Sheri Fink’s FIVE DAYS AT MEMORIAL centers on the question of whether the opportunity for these patients was squandered, or whether it simply didn’t arise.
"[Fink's] book is masterfully researched, and despite the chaos of those days, she is able to create a near-360° view of the days before the last living individuals were rescued from the hospital."
For over 400 pages, Fink unravels a terrifying disaster and the consequences that continued to ripple through the Memorial community long after the last rescue helicopter took off. Her book is masterfully researched, and despite the chaos of those days, she is able to create a near-360° view of the days before the last living individuals were rescued from the hospital.
Almost 300 patients and over 1,000 others sheltered at Memorial, which had served as ample protection from storm