Friday, 28 February 2014

Five days at Memorial - Sheri Fink

First up a confession- I'm a gullible person. I read things, I believe them.
That, in a more unsettled world, could be very dangerous for me.
Fortunately I'm cushioned in the UK.
This means that every non-fiction I read I don't necessarily question until later.
With 5days at Memorial all that changed. I'm halfway through it and I dearly wanted to know what had happened to the doctor, so I googled her. And it's changed my slant for the rest of the book.
Is it just me that does that or are there others out there?
Five days ag Memorial relates the dramatic events unfolding during Hurricane Katrina within one hospital. Lots of research has clearly gone into it and you can feel the heartbreaking frustration of everybody concerned, patients, nurses, doctor, governors, the military and all of the families.
It's a horror story that needed to be told, if only as a concise account to be reviewed in advance of the next natural disaster.
Seemingly little things like the location of the generators- at ground level which very quickly became underwater level, a helipad that hadn't been maintained because it wasn't used, an emergency plan where the boxes had been ticked to gain the accreditation but the thought hadn't gone into it.
All feeding back to the money, move the generators? Cash. Maintain the helipad? Cash. Gain the accreditation? Cash in.
During Hurricane Katrina cash didn't matter in the hospital, after all, what could they buy? But it still mattered outside of it and this is a hospital that's part of a health industry.
There are heroes here, there are victims here, baddies and goodies, ethical dilemmas galore.
What would you do? How would you decide who went first onto a helicopter? Who do you hold back that there may be no helicopter for? Who gets the water? Who doesn't?
An unenviable task undertaken by the staff who are left behind to deal with the catastrophe as best they could.
I'm only halfway through, I've just got to the repercussions after the event. Would you think the staff would be laid off while the hospital is repaired or should they be paid in the interim?
Should a doctor be held to account for decisions made under such pressures? Should anyone who wasn't there really be allowed to judge the actions of the people present? Should they be judged on the numbers that made it out- or he numbers that didn't?
Ultimately it's thought provoking but I would recommend that before you read it you google Dr Anna Pou.
If I was in a disaster I'd quite like that doctor to be dealing with me.

For the Friday 56 Freda's Voice

Page 56

"the walkway's about to collapse. I have to run across it", she said. "Just checking to make sure you all got out"

The exposed sides of the windows shattered under a hail of rocks launched from nearby rooftops. the ICU filled with screams.

Publisher - Atlantic books

Friday, 21 February 2014

Flight Behaviour - Barbara Kingsolver

Form one of my favourite authors, this one has languished on my shelf since it first came out as a hardback.
With my 2014 resolution of reading as many books that I already have as possible by putting all the titles in a jar and then reading randomly it has finally surfaced.
It's one of those that hides it's light on the shelf rather than screaming read me, buried treasure.
Kingsolver describes brilliantly the myriad ways that poverty affects families as well as the crass stupidity of those that have no concept of what it's like.
That doesn't mean it's a sad book, it's not. She has a great sense of humour and paints out her scenes so that they remain with you for years afterwards still raising a smile.
Ranging from entire conversations when you find yourself wondering when the dimwit will realise to spot on one liners.
The book revolves around a woman trying to come to terms with the life she has, wondering what might have been. Her husband is trying his best to be the man she wants while being totally unable to be romantic. She knows he could be seen as a catch but not necessarily for her.
Add in a relationship with her mother-in-law that is understated and perfect as far as an unusual mother can be and you have a great book.
It's actually about butterflies and global warming. You'll get to learn a fair bit about ecosystems, lots about butterflies, a tidy amount about the difficulties scientists have putting their point across and some about lambing.
Another dont't miss Kingsolver.
That reminds me......The Poisonwood Bible is lurking somewhere as well.....

For the Friday 56 Freda's Voice

"black-orange flakes that made her blink, and they merged in a chaotic blur in the distance"

"for years she'd crouched on a corner of this farm without really treading into Turnbow family territory, and now here she stood, dead on it's center."