Netflix’s crime film ‘The Good Nurse’ follows Amy Loughren, a nurse who works at the critical care unit of Parkfield Memorial Hospital along with Charles “Charlie” Cullen. When Ana Martinez, one of the patients in the unit, dies unexpectedly, the hospital involves detectives Tim Braun and Danny Baldwin to unravel the truth behind Ana’s unnatural death.
As the investigation progresses, Kelly Anderson, another patient in the same unit, dies. The film progresses through Amy’s efforts to solve Ana and Kelly’s murder cases by teaming up with Braun and Baldwin. Naturally, the viewers must be eager to know whether Ana and Kelly are based on real individuals. Here’s what we can share concerning the same!
Are Ana Martinez and Kelly Anderson Based on Real Patients?
Ana Martinez and Kelly Anderson are fictional representations of the several patients who died in Somerset Medical Center, the real-life counterpart of Parkfield Memorial Hospital where Charles Cullen worked with Amy Loughren. Krysty Wilson-Cairns, who wrote the film wanted to avoid the real identities of Cullen’s victims since many of their families are still alive. “You don’t want to revictimize them [the victims]. We weren’t in those rooms. I didn’t meet the victims’ families to really understand who these people were. So frankly, I would feel a bit dirty [using their identities],” Wilson-Cairns explained the reason behind conceiving Ana and Kelly to Vanity Fair.
“And most people could not give consent because they were dead. Or sometimes the families didn’t know. In the case of a lot of Charlie’s victims, the families still don’t know,” Wilson-Cairns added. In the film, it is Ana’s unnatural death that alerts the hospital authorities, paving the way for Braun and Baldwin’s investigation. In reality, as per Charles Graeber’s eponymous source text of the film, by the time detective duos were involved in the case, five deaths instead of one had already happened in Somerset. In addition, a sixth patient also displayed “life-threatening” symptoms.
The five dead patients were Joseph Lehman, Frances Kane, Jin Kyung Han, Rev. Florian Gall, Francis Agoada, and McKinley Crews. “All six patients had ‘unexplainable, abnormal laboratory findings’ and ‘life-threatening symptoms,’ and five of those patients were now dead,” Dr. William Cors, the then-Vice President of the hospital, briefed to Braun and Baldwin, as per Graeber’s book, reminding us of the briefing the detectives received after Ana’s death in the film. Having said that, Wilson-Cairns didn’t entirely resort to fiction.
Braun and Baldwin’s exhumation of Kelly’s body to perform an autopsy happened in real life, but the dead patient was Rev. Florian Gall. According to Graeber’s source text, Amy started to suspect Cullen’s involvement in the unnatural deaths that happened in the hospital when Braun and Baldwin showed her the records of medicines Cullen withdrew from Pyxis on the night Gall died.
Did Charles Cullen Kill Them?
While the film focuses on Ana and Kelly’s murders, Cullen killed at least thirteen patients in Somerset. The real number of victims is most likely higher than the same. As per Graeber’s source text, “sixteen murders were ultimately confirmed from just the last six months of Cullen’s career” but “Charlie never knew how many he did at Somerset.” Ana and Kelly represent each of the known and unknown victims of the serial killer, whose lives perished in the Somerset Medical Center.
Cullen’s other Somerset victims include Eleanor Stoecker, who is considered the serial killer’s first victim at the hospital. Joyce Mangini and Giacomino Toto are possible victims as well. As per Graeber’s book, Cullen killed John Shanagher with norepinephrine and Michael Strenko with “digoxin, or epinephrine, or some combination which had put Strenko over the edge.” Although Wilson-Cairns couldn’t include each of their lives in her narrative, she honors their memory through Ana and Kelly’s storylines.