Emily's Reviews > Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital

Five Days at Memorial by Sheri  Fink
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did not like it
bookshelves: salty-book-reviews

To say that Ms. Fink is biased is an understatement. From the first chapter of this book, it is evident that Ms. Fink believes Mrs. Pou and the nurses to be at fault for the deaths that occurred at Memorial in the days following Hurricane Katrina. It's fine, of course, to be biased in writing, but not when one is attempting to pass their book off as a neutral, fair account.
Ms. Fink spends the first half of the book giving endless details and portraying the doctors, who stayed behind for four days while their own homes were flooded and their own families evacuated, in the most negative light possible. In this book, these doctors are selfish, rude, and lazy. Unless, of course, they agreed to meet with her during the course of her writing, in which case she showered them with accolades.
Nowhere in the book is it more clear that Ms. Fink believes that Dr. Pou and the two nurses deserve jail time than in the second portion, where she diligently follows the investigation of Mr. Schafer and Ms. Rider. She consistently derides Dr. Pou's fundraisers, the profits of which were used to pay her massive legal fees incurred as a result of Mr. Schafer's and Ms. Rider's actions, yet she has no problem with the fact that the attorneys would surely receive a huge payout if Dr. Pou was found guilty. She clearly also has no problem with the fact that SHE is making millions from the same tragedy through the book and the NYTimes article. Ms. Fink refers to each piece of the investigation as a "clear victory," demonstrating her allegiance to the attorneys. Clearly the attorneys can do no wrong, for even when they humiliate Dr. Pou in an absolutely horrible way, by making her do a "perp walk" after 20 hours of surgery, despite the fact that she had agreed to turn herself in.
Even her research process reflects her bias. Every claim made by a "victim" is backed up with pages of repetitive and, to be frank, boring research. Yet when Dr. Pou's attorney asserts that 6 of the LifeCare patients died after being evacuated, thus showing how weak and close to death so many of the patients were, Ms. Fink simply states that Mr. Simmons "claimed" this things. Where is her research that she is so fond of now?? Would it have killed Ms. Fink to include any information that might have been contrary to her dead-set opinion that Dr. Pou is a cold blooded murderer?

Even this extremely skewed account of the events at Memorial Hospital does not change my mind about Dr. Pou and the nurses. It says a lot that so many in New Orleans were willing to support them (in addition to the American Medical Association), even after losing their own family members in the storm. It is a shame that Ms. Fink feels the need to further sully their names in such a public manner. I implore all of my fellow readers of this book to do their own research and read Dr. Pou's rebuttal, as well as information regarding her research tactics. For example, a few of Dr. Pou's patients were essentially harassed by Ms. Fink, who claimed to be writing a positive news story about her, when instead she was writing this glorified smear piece.
Basically, Sheryl Fink is a deplorable journalist and I am so thrilled that I got this book from the library and did not contribute a single cent to her personal wealth that she has accumulated at the expense of others.
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Reading Progress

September 21, 2013 – Shelved
September 21, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
October 13, 2013 – Started Reading
October 21, 2013 –
page 256
45.88% "The author is clearly biased against the actions of the medical staff at Memorial. How easy it must be to make such judgments from the comfort of your own office, rather than the chaos and panic of a hospital with no electricity and no help from the outside world after a major natural disaster."
October 24, 2013 – Finished Reading
January 20, 2016 – Shelved as: salty-book-reviews

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Heather Mize They didn't make her do a perp walk after the 20 hours of surgery, though they did arrest her vs. her being turned over to them.


Sherry Wow! I am too incensed by how these healthcare professionals were treated. However, I do not hear Fink's rendition to be condemning of the doctors and nurses. I find her to be a bit laborious in some of here research. But I haven't felt she was biased against Pou. Interesting anyway to hear your views.


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