Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital
“If there is ever an argument for ridding ourselves of for-profit hospitals, Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm Ravaged Hospital drives this home.”
If there is ever an argument for ridding ourselves of for-profit hospitals, Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm Ravaged Hospital drives this home. While critically ill patients are literally frying their brains in tropical conditions due to a mechanical failure, a senior executive for Tenet Health Care Corporation sits in an air conditioned room “nuking” his lunch and watching TV.
This wouldn’t be remarkable except that his “big storm camp out” was located in the cancer center, which was attached to the Tenet owned, Memorial Hospital complex, where hundreds of people were struggling to stay alive post Katrina. If that isn’t enough to wrench your stomach, the wife of another of these Tenet executives was insistent that her husband be given priority evacuation before the patients or exhausted staff were moved from another location.
Though civil suits were brought against Tenet and LifeCare, none of its executives were brought to trial for their actions. At the very least the Tenet Healthcare Corporation should have been investigated for for manslaughter, for its leaders failed in the basic task of emergency management, which is hospital triage and evacuation. Like most things in the U.S.A. money rules, and Tenet Hospital Corporation sold Memorial Hospital subsequent to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, taking a tidy loss on their corporate filing and starting fresh for their new fiscal year.
Your five days spent reading this book will make you feel like you can smell the dank waters surrounding New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina all but obliterates this culturally iconic city. Warning: for patients on kidney dialysis this may leave you feeling as though you are drowning inside and out. Dr. Fink really gives the clinical perspective on patients in this harrowing tale, which is a treat for health care readers.
For the straight truth on the triage of patients at this inner city New Orleans hospital, Fink combines expert fact checking with memoir-esque writing, both during the great flood of Katrina’s aftermath and the legal flood of law suits and recriminations that followed.
This book leaves you wondering about the checks and balances in the nations’ health care system—and I certainly would not want to check into a Tenant or LifeCare facility any time soon.