To understand the pressures doctors and nurses faced, readers needed to know exactly what it felt like to be trapped in a sweltering hospital in a city that had descended into chaos. Do you think Sheri Fink does a good job of recreating those conditions?
2. What do you think of the behavior and decisions made by the medical staff at Memorial? Where you shocked by the lethal injections of morphine? According to Dr. Ewing Cook, “It was actually to the point where you were considering that you couldnt just leave them; the humane thing would be to put em out. What do you think?
3. What shocked, or disturbed, you the most? The actions of the staff? The unpreparedness (short-sightedness?) of the hospital? The horrific conditions everyone operated under?
4. How would you have fared under the conditions at New Orleans Memorial?
5. What legal and ethical standards must doctors be expected to uphold in a disaster? Should they—or any professional—be held to the same standards that operate during normal conditions? In other words, is there a gray area in ethics when things go disastrously wrong?
6. In such situations as occured at Memorial, who should be saved first? Who should make those decisions?
7. Why did the local grand jury decline to bring charges against Anna Pou? Do you agree with its decision? To what degree should Pou be held accountable for her actions?
8. Ultimately, who is most responsible for the tragedy at Memorial Hospital? The hospital owners? The staff? The local, state, or federal government?
9. What lessons were learned from the hospital disaster at Memorial?