Is Mark and Sandra LeBlanc Based on a Real Couple? Where Are They Now?

Apple TV+’s medical drama ‘Five Days at Memorial’ revolves around the thousands of people who get stuck in Memorial Medical Center and LifeCare Hospitals, which operate in the same New Orleans building, during Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flood. Mark and Sandra LeBlanc worry about Mark’s mother Elvira “Vera” LeBlanc, one of the LifeCare patients who is stuck in the hospital, which doesn’t have enough resources to meet the needs of the patients. As the show depicts Mark and Sandra’s efforts to save Vera, the viewers must be eager to know whether they are based on a real couple. Well, here’s everything you need to know about the same!

Is Mark and Sandra LeBlanc Based on a Real Couple?

Yes, Mark and Sandra LeBlanc are based on a real couple. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Vera LeBlanc was admitted to LifeCare for treatment of a urinary tract infection and to adjust her medications. Since Vera also suffered from Parkinson’s disease, the couple was alarmed about her state and reached out to LifeCare, only to receive the reply that the hospital had enough supplies and there isn’t any need to evacuate her. Mark and Sandra had hired a certified nursing assistant to accompany Vera at LifeCare. When the flood happened, the CNA informed the couple that the hospital’s condition is alarming.

Image Credit: Sandra (Sandra Merriett) LeBlanc/LinkedIn

Mark and Sandra realized that they should save Vera themselves. They garnered supplies, joined a fire station about forty miles from New Orleans, and arrived at the city with a crew. Meanwhile, CNA contacted Sandra again. Sandra contacted the command center and asked the nursing assistant to speak to the commander center, only to receive the reply that evacuating the Memorial hospital building is a second priority, as per Sheri Fink’s source text of the show. The couple then met two Louisiana Cajun men, who had an airboat each to rescue people from the flood. The couple directed the two airboats to the Memorial hospital building to save Vera.

Mark saw his mother Vera “laying in sweat and muck and yuck and everybody on the seventh floor chaotic because they didn’t know what was going on,” as per CNN. Vera didn’t have an IV to keep her hydrated and deliver antibiotics. He asked a Memorial administrator why his mother isn’t receiving the essential care, only to receive a reply that the hospital was in survival mode. The doctors at the place tried to stop Mark and Sandra from evacuating Vera but listening to them was the last thing the couple could do. “We just shoved her [Vera] out the window, onto the airboat and said, ‘We’re going.’” Mark added to CNN.

Mark and Sandra then transferred Vera to Baton Rouge in an ambulance and returned to the Memorial building the next day. “[…] when we got back Thursday, the CNAs came out, they were from LifeCare, and we saw, and I said ‘What happened to the patients?’ and they said they all died,” Sandra told CNN in the same interview about returning to Memorial the next day to save patients.

Where Are Mark and Sandra LeBlanc Now?

Days after evacuating Vera from LifeCare weren’t good for Mark and Sandra LeBlanc. Mark’s mother Vera died four days after he rescued her from the Memorial building. According to the CNN interview, the LeBlancs blame Tenet, the parent company of Memorial, for Vera’s death, adding that the latter never recovered from the dehydration. The couple then joined seven families and sued Memorial Hospital, claiming the hospital didn’t follow its hurricane plan to take care of the patients in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flood.

Mark is currently working at Tulane University, a private research university located in New Orleans, as a project manager. Sandra is currently working as a self-employed EMS and AHA instructor. Her time at Nunez Community College, a public community college located in Chalmette, Louisiana, came to an end in 2021, after more than 20 years at the institution. At the time, she apparently was an assistant professor at the institution. As per sources, Mark and Sandra currently reside in Louisiana.

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