Friday, June 10, 2016

Five Days at Memorial: A Review

I can still remember watching the aerial footage.

Families huddled together on rooftops, surrounded by muddy water, waving at the helicopters.

The stuff of movies... except it was real life.

And there, in the middle of it all, was Memorial Hospital.

As a nurse, I struggled to comprehend the stories from the media.

How do you provide for the basics human needs of individuals when you are overwhelmed and unsure you have the needed resources to do so?

How do you stare death in the eyes and make those important decisions?

In her book Five Days at Memorial, Sheri Fink takes us to Katrina- ravaged New Orleans and walks us through the hallways of the hospital. Through extensive research, she describes the crisis at its worst and then breaks down the aftermath of the critical decisions that were second-guessed and rehashed, not just by those individuals who lived them, but by a nation forced to look bioethics square in the face and determine just how close to the gray areas they are willing to live.

Fink's objective presentation of the facts of those five days, of the fear and uncertainty and decisions the medical staff were forced to make, truly allows the reader to experience the dilemma and analyze their own personal views on medical advances, disaster preparedness, and the value of life. For the past couple of years, I have required my fundamentals class to read an article Fink written, and I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that she was the author of this book. I've now dog-eared the pages that will serve as prompts for discussion on abandonment, negligence, legalities of prescriptions, death and dying and dignity, and providing for the basic human needs of all patients.

I would give this book 5 stars because even though it is a heavy topic, it is well-presented and easy to read. This book is an excellent read for anyone in the medical field, as well as individuals who remember Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

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