**spoiler alert** I am annoyed with this author. She was clearly against Dr Pou and the nurses from the start. Not that I was for or against, I just w...more**spoiler alert** I am annoyed with this author. She was clearly against Dr Pou and the nurses from the start. Not that I was for or against, I just was reading it with an open mind. I was anticipating that the author would go into Dr. Pou and the two nurses side but Ms Fink continue to prosecute without efficiently displaying the side of the accused.
What happened that day at Memorial, does anyone really know? Just hearsay and then those people left the floor. We can only assume but is assumption enough to convict? What was Dr Pou told prior to going to the floor with syringes? Was she told something that no one was privy to? Did she witness things that no one else saw? Was Dr. Pou exhausted from being there consecutive days with very minimal sleep and lack of food? Did Tenet officials neglect the staff, patients, and visitors at Memorial and let the them fend for themselves with no direction, relief, help? It is quite easy for us to sit on the outside and judge what we would do in this time of need but I find it hard to place Dr Pou, given her history of working for hours on her feet to help give hope to those with a terminal illness...to just say "hey, I want to leave today so let's just kill off these patients". IMO, that just does not fit the general idea of a doctor, muchless one that works for hours in the operating room to give a change of life to someone else. It just does not make sense. And perhaps I am giving her the benefit of the doubt.
About 70% into the book, I realized Ms Fink was not going to get into Pou's side of the story. So I did some searching and googling and found that Dr Pou highly discredits this book.
So as I continue to read the book though, here is Ms Fink casting judgment on Dr Pou and the other workers at Memorial. And yet Ms Fink goes to Haiti to do some journaling on disaster preparedness after the earthquake. She encounters one patient that basically needs continuous oxygen to breathe. Oxygen was running out in Haiti so the healthcare professionals make the somber decision that maybe the oxygen should go to people who only need it for a short period of time. And unfortunately, heartbreakingly, makes the decision to discontinue the oxygen on this woman-knowing that it is going to kill her. While doing so, making the arrangement for this woman to be transferred to a hospital (that also does not have much oxygen). So while this woman rides in the ambulance-Ms Fink rides along side her. Ms Fink knows what the plan is; the patient, not so much. Does Ms Fink, who basically claims that Dr Pou and the two nurses did not do justice thru moral and ethics calls of duty...does Ms Fink say anything to the doctors that discontinuing the oxygen is WRONG? Does Ms Fink inform the patient what the plan was? Does Ms Fink put her foot down and say this was unethical and wrong? No, she absolutely does not. So if this patient died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, Ms Fink knowing the plan...should then, Ms Fink who is a journalist doing research on emergency preparedness-knowing "right from wrong" be prosecuted because she did nothing? We do not get into that because that particular "what if" did not happen infront of Ms Fink. That patient did not die in transport with Ms Fink sitting next to her. Emergency preparedness is full of "what ifs" or "maybes".
I have no doubt Hurricane Katrina was a learning lesson for all(unfortunately at the cost of many many lives; not just at Memorial), I just cannot wrap my head around someone doing this inhumanly and selfishly at this level-living in it. It is different if you're in the White House, sitting behind the desk in the Oval office to neglect the situation that is going on a thousand miles away.
Reading Mr Fink's book though, does show that many people-including doctors-need to be educated on health, healthcare decisions. For someone higher up to make the decision that those who are DNRs, just because they are DNRs, should be evacuated last-is wrong. To that doctor (who shockingly was not named in the book-which makes me see this as a tabloidish) who stated that those that are doing agnoal breathing are not in pain and don't need medication for comfort. Really?! That's almost like saying people who are in coma or near death, cannot hear you. We assume they can. We should also assume that just because people are agonal breathing, does not mean that they cannot feel?!
Perhaps, indeed, if we know a serious crisis is coming-maybe asking the patient or patient's family what they want to do helps. But then will that give them the impression that healthcare professionals will not care about their loved ones if they know they would prefer someone younger, or healthier, or ____ (fill in the blank) to be helped over them? As a healthcare professional it is a catch 22 and such a fine line all the way around.
Bottom line, in 2005, in America. The aftermath of Katrina and the help for Katrina victims should not have went down the way it went down. The city of New Orleans, especially in the poorer neighborhoods were neglected. President Bush is to blame, FEMA is to blame, emergency preparedness is to blame, people who did not heed the evacuation notices are to blame because they wanted to stay or had no means of leaving. And as I close the book, I wonder, I wonder, if bringing Dr Pou, the two other nurses at Memorial, and other hospitals and skilled nursing facilities...if bring them to court was to try to remove the blame from the company, the city, the state, the nation, the President, FEMA...if it helped removed the blame on them and put a focus on someone else, that the heat would be taken off?!? You have to wonder....