Sheri Fink

  • Aired:  09/09/13
  •  | Views: 14,581

"Five Days at Memorial" author Sheri Fink argues that America's disaster preparedness is severely lacking. (6:12)

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK, MYGUEST TONIGHT A PULITZER

PRIZE WINNING REPORTER, HERNEW BOOK IS CALLED FIVE DAYS

AT MEMORIAL LIFE-AND-DEATHIN A STORM RAVAGED HOSPITAL.

PLEASE WELCOME TO THEPROGRAM SHERI FINK.

(APPLAUSE)THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

THE BOOK IS CALLED FIVE DAYSAT MEMORIAL.

IT INVOLVES A HOSPITAL INNEW ORLEANS.

>> YES.

>> Jon: AFTER KATRINA IT ISPERHAPS THE DARKEST BOOK, I

HAD TO READ LORD OF THEFLIES AFTER THIS TO REGAIN

MY LOVE OF HUMANITY.

>> I GUESS YOU HAVEN'T READMY FIRST BOOK ABOUT A

HOSPITAL IN THE GENOCIDE.

>> Jon: IS THAT YOUR FIRSTBOOK.

>> YEAH SO THIS IS LIGHTER.

(LAUGHTER)>> Jon: CAN'T YOU WRITE

ABOUT JUST LIKE, I DON'TKNOW A MUMPS OUTBREAK.

THIS WAS I KEPT WAITING FORA HERO TO EMERGE IN THIS

STORY AT THE HOSPITAL,WHETHER IT BE A PLANNER OR

RESPONDER OR DOCTOR.

AND THEY DON'T EVER SEEM TOEMERGE.

>> THERE'S NO ONE HERO ANDTHERE'S NO ONE VILLAIN HERE.

>> Jon: YES.

>> YES, AND IF I HAVE ONETHING TO TELL PEOPLE ABOUT

THIS, IT IS BE PREPARED FOREVERYTHING TO FAIL IN A

DISASTER.

AND THAT'S WHY THE BOOK LOOKSA LOT AT LIKE INDIVIDUAL

DECISIONS, WHAT HAPPENS WHENEVERYTHING FAILS.

BECAUSE PREPAREDNESSRESPONSE IS ALL ABOUT

INFRASTRUCTURE,ORGANIZATIONS AND

INDIVIDUALS.

AND THIS IS REALLY LIKE HOWCAN WE BE MORE PREPARED.

>> Jon: WELL, YOU WOULDTHINK LIKE YOU COULD LOOK AT

THIS AND THINK OH NEWORLEANS IT'S SO CHAOTIC DOWN

THERE OF COURSE THEY'RE NOTPREPARED.

THE EXACT SAME THING, LIKENO GENERATORS OR ALL LOCATED

BELOW SEA LEVEL HAPPENED INNEW YORK CITY DURING

HURRICANE SANDY DOWN AT NYU.

>> WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED,EIGHT YEARS LATER.

IT'S CRAZY.

I MEAN I THINK THAT IN NEWORLEANS THEY LEARNED.

HOSPITALS ARE ABOUT POWERAND WATER.

YOU NEED TO HAVE THAT.

AND WE LOST THAT IN NEWYORK.

AND IT WAS CRAZY TO SEEAFTER ALL THE LESSONS WE

SHOULD HAVE LEARNED FROMKATRINA, THAT AGAIN WE'RE

SEEING BABIES BEING CARRIEDDOWN DARKENED STAIRCASES, SO

YES WE'VE GOT INFRASTRUCTUREALL OVER THIS COUNTRY

WHETHER IT'S IN, YOU KNOW,TORNADO ALLEY, HOSPITALS UP

TO CODE, EARTHQUAKE ZONES.

YOU KNOW, WHEN I'M GOING TOBE CHECKED INTO A HOSPITAL IF

I HAVE SOMETHING THAT NEEDSTO BE DONE, I WANT TO ASK.

SO WE NEED TO BE ASKINGTOUGH QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR

HOSPITALS.

WE NEED TO BE ASKING TOUGHQUESTIONS OF OUR GOVERNMENT,

ABOUT REGULATIONS THAT MAYBENEED TO BE STRENGTHENED THAT

OUR GOVERNMENT HAS SAIDAFTER KATRINA, NEED TO BE

STRENGTHENED.

STILL HAVEN'T BEEN RELEASEDALL THESE YEARS LATER.

SO WE HAVE MAJOR THINGS TOLEARN AND THAT'S WHY I WROTE

THIS FIVE DAYS ATMEMORIAL.

>> Jon: IF YOU ASKED, IF IGO INTO THE HOSPITAL AND SAY

TO THEM, LIKE, SO HOW'S YOURGENERATOR SITUATION.

>> YES, ASK THEM.

>> Jon: YOU CAN'T GETSOMEONE TO SEE YOU LET ALONE

TO DISCUSS, CAN I JUST SAY,LIKE THAT BIG GUY OVER THERE,

IF IT ALL GOES TO HELL, CANHE CARRY ME DOWN THE STAIRS.

LIKE WHAT YOU WOULD ASK.

>> THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED INTHIS HOSPITAL, TOO.

THERE WAS SOMEBODY WHO WASHEAVYSET AND THEY DECIDED WE

CAN'T RESCUE HIM BECAUSE HEWEIGHS TOO MUCH.

THERE IS A LOT OF OBESEPEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY.

WE NEED TO THINK ABOUT THESETHINGS BEFOREHAND.

BUT THAT'S WHY MAYBE WE NEEDREGULATIONS.

BECAUSE IT'S HARD FOR US TOASK THOSE QUESTIONS.

BUT WE SHOULD.

ARE YOUR-- YOU'RE IN A FLOODZONE, ARE THE GENERATORS IN

THE BASEMENT?

>> Jon: YES THAT'S WHERE WEKEEP OUR GENERATORS, MA'AM.

SO LIKE YOU COME IN AND I'MHAVING A HEART ATTACK, WHERE

ARE YOUR GENERATORS, THEY'REIN THE BASEMENT, YOU GO ALL

RIGHT, ALL RIGHT, WELLWHAT'S THE WEATHER GOING TO

BE FOR THE NEXT TWO DAYS.

BECAUSE I GOT-- IT TRULY IS-- IT'S MIND-BOGGLING.

AND THE THING THAT HAPPENSHERE THAT I THINK IS SO

ASTONISHING AND BOY, IT'SHARD NOT TO JUDGE IT, IS SO

ONE OF THE DOCTORS STARTSKILLING PEOPLE.

I MEAN IF I MAY -->> I MEAN WHAT ELSE IS THERE

TO DO.

>> Jon: HE STARTS-- HESTARTS EUTHANIZING, HE

STARTS EUTHANIZING PEOPLETHINKING LIKE OH, THIS ISN'T

GOING TO WORK.

>> THIS IS THE STAKES OFTHE LACK OF PREPAREDNESS.

IS THAT THERE WERE DECENT,HARDWORKING, WELL RESPECTED

HEALTH PROFESSIONALS WHOLITERALLY FELT LIKE THAT WAS

THEIR CHOICE.

NOW WAS THAT THE RIGHTCHOICE?

I THINK A LOT OF US WOULDSAY NO, THERE WERE 20 PEOPLE

IN THE END WHO A FORENSICPATHOLOGIST THOUGHT RECEIVED

THESE DRUGS AND DIED, 20PEOPLE, THAT'S LIKE IN

BETWEEN COLUMBINE AND YOUKNOW, THE LATEST SHOOTING,

MASS SHOOTINGS IN NEWTOWN.

>> Jon: YOU LIVE IN A DARK,DARK PLACE.

>> SO I'M SAYING WE NEEDPREPAREDNESS.

THESE ARE THE STAKES BUTYOU KNOW, THEY FELT LIKE AT

THAT POINT THEY WERE DOINGSOMETHING MERCIFUL.

>> Jon: I THOUGHT IT WASINTERESTING WHEN THEY CAME

OUT, EVERYBODY SORT OF, YOUKNOW, IT'S LIKE AT THE END

OF THAT DISASTER MOVIE, THEYALWAYS CLIMB OUT OF THE

OVERTURNED SHIP TO THESUNLIGHT.

AND THEY ALL WERE LIKE THEYTOOK LIKE A VOW TO NEVER

TALK ABOUT IT.

AND TO SAY, AND NOTHINGHAPPENED, WE WILL NEVER TALK

ABOUT THIS.

>> THANK YOU FOR SAYINGTHAT.

IT IS LIKE A CODE OF SILENCEBECAUSE THEY WERE AFRAID.

A DOCTOR ENDED UPGETTING ARRESTED AND ACCUSED

OF HAVING KILLING THEPATIENTS.

I THINK IT ALL COMES DOWN TOIN A DISASTER DO WE THINK

THAT EXCEPTIONAL TIMES ARETIMES WHEN WE-- YOU KNOW,

SHOULD LET SOME OF OUR MORALVALUES SLIP OR IS IT A TIME

WHEN WE WANT TO HOLD EVENMORE TIGHTLY TO OUR DEEPEST

MORAL VALUES.

AND I DON'T THINK THEDOCTORS-- .

>> Jon: HOLD MORE TIGHTLY,OH, DID I GIVE AWAY THE

ENDING?

AND THAT'S WHY HERE IS WHATIS SO GOOD ABOUT THIS BOOK,

IT'S ACTUALLY FREEZE DRIEDFOOD, YOU CAN EAT IT.

IT IS A GENERATOR.

I HAVE TO SAY, IT'S A WILDSTORY.

AND THIS WILL BE A MOVIE.

THIS WILL BE A MOVIE ANDSOMEONE WILL WIN AN OSCAR

BECAUSE THEY'LL PLAY LIKE ADARK, DARK-- DARK, THIS IS-- YOU

KNOW WHAT I WOULD LIKE TOSEE BRAD PITT AND ANGELINA

JOLIE, I WOULD LIKE TOSEE REALLY GOOD LOOKING

PEOPLE GO TO THIS DARK, DARKPLACE.

>> BUT LET'S LEARN FROM IT.

LET'S COME OUT OF THIS TOTHE LIGHT.

>> Jon: YES, WE SHOULD ALSOLEARN FROMS IT, BUT SHOULD

GET A REALLY GOOD MOVIE OUTOF THIS.

AND THEN LEARN FROM IT.

>> AT LEAST.

>> Jon: FIVE DAYS ATMEMORIAL, ON THE BOOK

SHELVES NOW, SHERI FINK THANKYOU

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