Class of 2021 – Common Reading

Five Days At Memorial

Five Days At Memorial

Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital

By: Sheri Fink

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What is a Common Reading Program?

The Common Reading Program is a shared learning experience for all incoming students in the School of Public Health at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. The purpose of this program is to stimulate meaningful conversations about the professions that you are entering while learning about all possibilities to make a difference.  This interprofessional educational (IPE) opportunity will provide your cohort with a shared learning experience about the fields of public health, health administration and leadership.

Common Reading Book for 2019

This year’s selection is Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital written by Sheri FinkFive Days at Memorial is a non-fiction book about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina at a hospital in New Orleans.  It details the course of events over five days at the hospital as thousands of people were trapped in the flooded hospital without power.

After Katrina struck and the floodwaters rose, the power failed, and the heat climbed, exhausted caregivers chose to designate certain patients last for rescue.  Months later, several health professionals faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths.  Fink exposes the hidden dilemmas of end-of-life care and reveals just how ill-prepared we are in America for the impact of large-scale disasters and how we can do better.  A remarkable book, engrossing from start to finish, Five Days at Memorial radically transforms your understanding of human nature in crisis.

Common Reading Discussion

  • All new SPH students will participate in an interactive discussion about the book during the first IPE activity.
  • Purchase your own copy of Five Days at Memorial and read it by August 27, 2019.   
    • Sheri Fink (2016) Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital 
    • ISBN-10: 0307718972           ISBN-13: 978-0307718976


Questions about the Program?

Contact Dr. Sumihiro Suzuki at