Thursday, January 30, 2014

the last book I ever read (Sheri Fink's Five Days at Memorial, excerpt ten)

from Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink:

Kathleen Fournier solicited another opinion later, as she and pulmonologist John Thiele struggled to euthanize two Siamese cats around a corner from where the patients lay on the second floor. The cats belonged to a pharmacist who lived alone and considered them her children. She had asked Fournier to euthanize them, convinced she would have to abandon them.

Fournier held one of the cats as Thiele trained a needle toward its heart. While they worked, Fournier told Thiele she did not want to participate in putting patients out of their misery. Thiele told her he understood, and that he and others would handle it. She wasn’t sure what that meant.

Before Thiele could inject the heart-stopping medicine, potassium chloride, the cat struggled out of Fournier’s hands. It clawed at Thiele, ripping his sweaty scrub shirt. Someone else injected another cat and threw it out a broken window into the floodwaters.

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