Metairie, La (WGNO) — Sheri Fink is a doctor, author, journalist, Pulitzer Prize winner and has a PhD. She also wrote the critically acclaimed book “Five Days at Memorial” which inspired the Apple+ streaming series of the same name.
“I was in New Orleans within a few days of Katrina, working in the shelters,” Fink told WGNO News during a recent Zoom interview.
Fink’s book is nonfiction. The Apple+ streaming series is a dramatization based on it. The story focuses on the deaths at Memorial Hospital in New Orleans in the days after Hurricane Katrina.
After the storm, when the levees broke, the hospital was flooded and surrounded by water. There was no electricity, and the conditions inside were hot and horrifying.
Attorney General Charles Foti accused a doctor and two nurses at the hospital of intentionally using lethal doses of morphine or Versed to kill four patients. The doctor, Anna Pou, claimed that the injections were only given to make the patients comfortable in the unbearable circumstances.
In the end, a grand jury did not indict and all the charges were dropped.
Fink says hopes the people who read her book will come away with a greater desire to plan for future disasters.
“We look at our own context, our own selves, our failures, our communities, and think about– what’s something I can do to make my family more prepared or look out for the vulnerable people,” she said.
As for the streaming series, while it is a dramatization, Fink says there’s still plenty to learn from it.
“I think the value of examining historical events through drama is to help see the relevance in our own times and help us learn from the past,” she said.
Fink also says the cast, crew and others associated with the Apple+ production did a fantastic job. For more on that, watch the video at the top of this story.
As for her next project, Fink says she’s currently researching a book on the Covid-19 pandemic.