Five Days at Memorial: Winner, National Book Critics Circle Award, PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award, Ridenhour Book Prize, J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize, Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Book Award, American Medical Writers Association Medical Book Award, and NASW Science in Society Journalism Book Award.
"Sheri Fink has written an unforgettable story.
Five Days at Memorial is social reporting of the first rank."
–Jason Berry, New York Times
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Five Days at Memorial is Pulitzer Prize winner Sheri Fink’s landmark investigation of patient deaths at a New Orleans hospital ravaged by Hurricane Katrina – and her suspenseful portrayal of the quest for truth and justice.
After Katrina struck and the floodwaters rose, the power failed, and the heat climbed, exhausted caregivers chose to designate certain patients last for rescue. Months later, several health professionals faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths.
Five Days at Memorial, the culmination of six years of reporting, unspools the mystery of what happened in those days, bringing the reader into a hospital fighting for its life and into a conversation about the most terrifying form of health care rationing.
Read the first 10 pages of the book here.
Praise for Five Days at Memorial:
"What we have here is masterly reporting and the glow of fine writing.”
—Sherwin B. Nuland, New York Times Book Review
"A triumph of journalism...Fink re-creates this world with mastery and sensitivity, revealing the full humanity of each character. Unlike post-storm commentary that jumped to black and white conclusions, painting the doctors as heroes or villains, Fink’s narrative wades through the muck and finds only real people making tough choices under circumstances the rest of us, if we’re lucky, will never experience."
“Dr. Fink brings a shimmering intelligence to its many narrative cul-de-sacs, which consider medical, legal and ethical issues…. By reporting the depth of those gruesome hours in Memorial before the helicopters came, and giving weight to medical ethics as grounded in the law, Sheri Fink has written an unforgettable story. Five Days at Memorial is social reporting of the first rank.”
—Jason Berry, New York Times
"Five Days at Memorial is Sheri Fink’s elaborately researched chronicle of life, death, and the choices in between at a New Orleans hospital immediately following Hurricane Katrina. What’s important, it slowly emerges, is that despite Fink’s painstaking re-creation based on five hundred interviews and mountains of documents—we weren’t there. We cannot know. Fink, under the guise of third-person journalistic objectivity, drives us towards a kind of uncertainty so great that it’s revelatory. This isn’t just a policy brief ornamented with characters. It is, like all great journalism, a document unto itself, an artifact of what we thought about “life and death” issues in the early twenty-first century."
—Jeff Sharlet, Bookforum
"It’s a marvel of journalistic effort that brings an objective and sympathetic eye to the suffering and tough decisions at Memorial Medical Center."