Tuesday, January 21, 2014
the last book I ever read (Sheri Fink's Five Days at Memorial, excerpt one)
from Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink:
Early Wednesday morning, Memorial’s generators failed, throwing the hospital into darkness and cutting off power to the machines that supported patients’ lives. Volunteers helped heft patients to staging areas for rescue, but helicopters arrived irregularly. That afternoon, Thiele sat on the emergency room ramp for a cigar break with an internist, Dr. John Kokemor, who told him doctors were being requested to leave last. When Thiele asked why, his friend brought an index finger to the crook of his opposite elbow and pantomimed giving an injection. Thiele caught his drift.
“Man, I hope we don’t come to that,” Thiele said. Kokemor would later say he never made the gesture, that he had spent nearly all his time outside the building loading hundreds of mostly able-bodied evacuees onto boats, which floated them over a dozen blocks of flooded streets to where they could wade to dry ground. He said he was no longer caring for patients and too busy to worry about what was going on inside the hospital.