October 28, 2014

Welcome & General Session

I have not read Dr. Sherri Fink's book Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, but after hearing her speak this morning I'm inclined to run out and buy (or check out) a copy. Dr. Fink is currently in Liberia chronicling the Ebola outbreak there for the New York Times, so she addressed the group today via live stream. She discussed the difficulties Memorial Hospital in New Orleans experienced during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In the midst of the disaster, hospital staff faced a number of practical and ethical dilemmas. Dr. Fink also discussed various New York hospitals' response to similar vulnerabilities and issues during Hurricane Sandy - including the lessons they learned from hearing about Katrina. We learned that creativity, flexibility, and communication play an important role in disaster response. All in all, it was an engaging and thought-provoking start to this year's meeting.

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