Tuesday, February 4, 2014
the last book I ever read (Sheri Fink's Five Days at Memorial, excerpt fifteen)
from Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital by Sheri Fink:
Pou continued to practice and went on to become a popular national lecturer on “ethical considerations” in disaster medicine. In her talks, she rewrote history. “FEMA called us and said we’re taking the airboats at noon,” she said as the keynote speaker at a conference registering nearly a thousand California hospital executives and health professionals, who gave her a long ovation. “So whatever you can get out of the hospital get out because they can no longer stay.” In all the months Virginia Rider and Butch Schafer had investigated events at Memorial, and in all the years of stories journalists had written about the disaster, nobody had made that claim.
Standing on stage, her voice booming through the large hall, Pou said that in addition to no running water there was “no clean water” at Memorial—though investigators found a large amount of bottled water left over after the evacuation—and she asked audience members to put themselves in the position of deciding who should get the last bottle of drinking water—an employee or a patient, “Who gets it? Who gets the one bottle of water?”—a decision that was never necessary at Memorial.