Extreme Medicine: How Exploration Transformed Medicine in the Twentieth Century - Kevin Fong
In this adrenaline-fueled look at physical limits and how we can learn from, if not always transcend them, Fong, an anesthesiologist and intensive-care physician, recreates some of the worst accidents to have befallen mortals. He is clear, precise, and compelling about every physiological process he presents, whether it’s the normal functioning of the lungs or the grievous bodily effects of altitude, cold, the anti-gravity of space, or ordinary aging. Even when the going gets a little grisly, it’s impossible to look away from this series of miraculous survivals and innovative medical interventions. Fong’s accounts often start with the daring explorations of mountain climbers or deep-sea divers—he is himself something of an adventurer—highlighting how clinical progress is rooted in, and pushed by, real lives and events.
Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital - Sheri Fink
Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Sheri Fink tells the harrowing tale of a New Orleans hospital during Hurricane Katrina in Five Days at Memorial (Crown, $27). Drawing on meticulous research and six years of reporting, Fink explores the ethical and moral dilemmas caregivers faced during the hurricane, and she gets to the bottom of the criminal charges brought against the hospital’s staff for the deaths and euthanization of forty-five patients. From scenes of babies being airlifted to safety to health care professionals administering fatal injections, Fink’s account is a truly disturbing cautionary tale, one that opens a much-needed conversation about America’s large-scale disaster preparedness and how we can move forward.