This book is an excellent read for anyone interested in the medical field and how it relates to disaster relief. In this work of literature, Dr. Fink chronicles the events that occurred at Memorial Hospital before, during, and after hurricane Katrina. She captivates her readers by describing challenges the emergency facility was facing after losing power and backup generators due to excessive flooding. With the hospital besieged by floodwater and unable to support patients with life-threatening conditions using modern medical machinery, the patients, their families, and staff must be evacuated from the hospital. Yet instead of using the standard approach of attending to the most vulnerable patients first, the evacuation soon shifts to prioritize those with the best chance of surviving.
Dr. Fink also delves into many bio-ethical issues as well as the systems of triage used in emergency situations tantamount to a war-zone. By recounting the disaster from the perspective of several different medical staff members at the hospital and detailing their background, the reader is able to understand how different people acted in the situation. While some doctors preferred to maintain the standard of patient care they always practiced, others were of the view that euthanasia was a better option for those who would be left behind or had little chance of survival. The book explores both views in context, while analyzing the flaws of healthcare policy in certain disaster situations. It is hard to put down and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the subject matter.
Recommended by Saad Akhtar '18
Submitted on September 10, 2014