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0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sheri Fink Narrator: Kirsten Potter Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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

In the tradition of the best writing on medicine, physician and reporter Sheri Fink reconstructs five days at Memorial Medical Center and draws the reader into the lives of those who struggled mightily to survive and to maintain life amidst chaos.

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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “In a high speed world that reduces reality to black and white, Sheri Fink slows down to examine every achingly tough decision made by medical responders to Hurricane Katrina. The riveting result is nuanced and leaves you asking, ‘Well, what would I have done?’ Wow.”

    Laurie Garrett, Pulitzer Prize–winning author

  • “Sheri Fink has once again revealed the necessity of honorable journalism: to show us, precisely, why intelligence and information are of critical use.”

    Adrian LeBlanc, New York Times bestselling author 

  • Five Days at Memorial stands as evidence of [Fink’s] ability to tell a can’t-put-down story and also her ability to delve into the troubled and sometimes heart-breaking state of medical care in this country today.”

    Deborah Blum, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Fink, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who trained as a physician, writes powerfully of the investigation into the Memorial deaths and, in her epilogue, of subsequent disasters: the earthquake in Haiti, Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast, an influenza pandemic in India.”


  • “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.”

    New York Times

  • “[Fink] has shaped her research into an elegant narrative, Five Days at Memorial, with all the page-turning pull of a novel, no easy feat given the complexity of the story…Riveting.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Powerful…Fink, a trained physician turned journalist, is able to re-create in minute detail the sights, smells and sounds of Memorial in the days following the storm. It’s safe to say that her medical background gave her a unique perspective, which, coupled with her fine writing, offers the reader an evocative narrative.”

    USA Today

  • “What we have here is masterly reporting and the glow of fine writing.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sheri Fink spells out the story of Memorial—and its consequences—in a book that is as excellent as it is alarming.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “The journalist and doctor Sheri Fink published a meticulous investigation of these deaths in the New York Times Magazine and on the Web site of ProPublica, in 2009. Her work won a Pulitzer Prize.  And now comes the book. In Five Days at Memorial, the contours of the story remain the same, yet Fink imbues them with far more narrative richness, making the doctors seem both more sympathetic and more culpable. Fink also expands on the ethical conundrums, which have festered over time and seem to gain fresh urgency.”

    New Yorker

  • “Fink has done a masterful reporting job...Fink’s book is essential reading for anyone who cares about New Orleans, the breakdown of order in disaster zones, and medical dilemmas under crisis circumstances.”

    Boston Globe

  • “A triumph of journalism...Fink re-creates this world with mastery and sensitivity, revealing the full humanity of each character.”

    Houston Chronicle

  • “Every page gives evidence of meticulous research...[Fink] offers no easy answers, no rush to judgment. But she does deliver an amazing tale, as inexorable as a Greek tragedy and as gripping as a whodunit.”

    Dallas Morning News

  • “[Fink] raises important ethical questions in this fast-paced reconstruction of heart-wrenching events.”

    Ms. magazine

  • “Fink, a Pulitzer Prize winner for her reporting on Memorial in the New York Times Magazine, offers a stunning re-creation of the storm, its aftermath, and the investigation that followed…She evenhandedly compels readers to consider larger questions, not just of ethics but race, resources, history, and what constitutes the greater good, while humanizing the countless smaller tragedies that make up the whole…A breathtaking read and an essential book for understanding how people behave in times of crisis.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Narrator Kirsten Potter approaches this mammoth work with a deliberate reportorial tone that emphasizes the author’s words without appealing to emotion…Potter’s nasal-tinged voice is low and clear, and she treats each phrase and event with care, allowing listeners to focus on the story. Her careful, measured performance makes this a remarkable achievement. Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • A Barnes & Noble Best Book for September 2013
  • New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books, 2013
  • A Wall Street Journal Bestseller
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books, 2013
  • A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
  • A 2013 Booklist Editors’ Choice for Adult Books
  • A 2013 New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller
  • A 2013 New York Times Book Review Top 10 Book of the Year
  • An Amazon Top 100 Book of 2013
  • A #1 Entertainment Weekly Best Book of 2013 for Nonfiction
  • A Kansas City Star Top 100 Book of 2013
  • A Christian Science Monitor Book of the Year for 2013
  • A 2013 Time Magazine Best Book for Nonfiction
  • NPR’s Great Reads, 2013
  • A 2013 People Magazine’s “Great Reads” for New Nonfiction
  • A Chicago Tribune Top Ten Book of 2013
  • A Seattle Times Best Book of 2013
  • A 2013 BookPage Best Book
  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the 2013 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Current Interest
  • Winner of the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction
  • A 2014 Carnegie Medal for Literature Finalist in Ficiton
  • A 2014 ALA Notable Book for Adult Nonfiction
  • A 2013 National Book Award Finalist
  • Longlisted for the 2015 PEN Literary Award
  • A September 2013 LibraryReads Pick
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