Playing God

Released Monday, 22nd August 2016
 4 people rated this episode
When people are dying and you can only save some, how do you choose? Maybe you save the youngest. Or the sickest. Maybe you even just put all the names in a hat and pick at random. Would your answer change if a sick person was standing right in front of you?

In this episode, we follow New York Times reporter Sheri Fink as she searches for the answer. In a warzone, a hurricane, a church basement, and an earthquake, the question remains the same. What happens, what should happen, when humans are forced to play god?

Produced by Simon Adler and Annie McEwen. Reported by Sheri Fink. 

In the book that inspired this episode you can find more about what transpired at Memorial Hospital during Hurricane Katrina, Sheri Fink’s exhaustively reported Five Days at Memorial

You can find more about the work going on in Maryland at: www.nytimes.com/triage

Very special thanks to Lilly Sullivan. 

Special thanks also to: Pat Walters and Jim McCutcheon and Todd Menesses from WWL in New Orleans, the researchers for the allocation of scarce resources project in Maryland - Dr. Lee Daugherty Biddison from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Howie Gwon from the Johns Hopkins Medicine Office of Emergency Management, Alan Regenberg of the Berman Institute of Bioethics and Dr. Eric Toner of the UPMC Center for Health Security.

Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.

Who's On This Episode

Add Creators

What People Are Saying

add a review
whatdivawants reviewed this episode on Aug 7th, 2017
"Some decisions are difficult, others seem impossible... until you have to make them. This excellent ep ran the gamut of sad, interesting, and infuriating for me. (That means it's good.)"

Mentioned In These Lists

Add to a List
The Cathedral
Playing God
Karl Ove Knausgård on Literary FreedomInventing the Future
Curated list of4 episodesbypod_twit
From Tree to Shining Tree
The Ceremony 
Playing God
Revising the Fault Line
The Gondolier
Curated list of23 episodesbyJ0hannes