Apple TV+’s medical drama ‘Five Days at Memorial’ centers around the lives that get stuck in Memorial Medical Center and LifeCare Hospitals, two hospitals operating in the same building in New Orleans, Louisiana, during Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flood. While the hurricane creates havoc and the flood isolates the hospital building incident commander of Memorial, Susan Mulderick, guides and leads her doctors and nurses to look after patients and their family members. Susan also initiates the evacuation procedures by requesting immediate help. Since Susan is a significant presence at Memorial, the viewers must be eager to know whether the character has a real-life counterpart. Let us share the answer!
Is Susan Mulderick Based on the Real Memorial Incident Commander?
Yes, Susan Mulderick is based on the eponymous then-incident commander of Memorial Medical Center (presently known as Ochsner Baptist Medical Center). During Hurricane Katrina and the days that followed, Susan guided the activities that happened in the hospital. She was the hospital’s nursing director at the time as well. As the longtime chairwoman of the hospital’s emergency-preparedness committee, Mulderick played an important role in the preparation of Memorial’s emergency plan, which lacked guidance in the wake of a complete power failure or flood.
Along with Memorial, Mulderick had to care about the patients at LifeCare. When Diane Robichaux of LifeCare enquired about evacuation to Mulderick, the latter replied that “the plan is not to leave any living patients behind,” as per the eponymous source text of the show by Sheri Fink. When investigators were investigating the deaths of several patients discovered in the Memorial hospital building, Mulderick was interrogated as well. She told the investigator that she had several discussions with Dr. Anne Pou, who was later charged with second-degree murder in connection with the deaths of four LifeCare patients by administering lethal doses of morphine or/and other drugs.
“One of those discussions had to do with um, asking her [Pou] if some of these patients could be given something for, what I considered was their suffering, their anxiety, their pain,” Mulderick told the investigator, as per the source text. When the investigator asked her if she had any discussions concerning euthanizing patients with anybody, Mulderick replied no. The investigator further asked her whether she had any discussions regarding “palliative care that might result in their [patients’] deaths” or about “something that would ease their pain, but might also speed up the dying process,” as per Sheri Fink’s book. “My discussions with, well, had to do with palliative care. Comfort patients, certainly not to speed up a process like that,” she replied.
Richard Deichmann, Memorial’s medical-department chairman at the time, remembers Mulderick’s words differently during the “five days.” In his memoir titled ‘Code Blue,’ Deichmann wrote that Mulderick asked him whether it would be “humane” to euthanize the hospital’s “do-not-resuscitate” patients, only for him to reply that “there’s not any need to euthanize anyone.” Through her attorney, Mulderick denied that she discussed euthanizing patients with Deichmann or anyone at Memorial during the period.
Where is Susan Mulderick Now?
After the incidents that happened at Memorial after Hurricane Katrina, Susan Mulderick has tried her best to stay away from media attention. When Sheri Fink, who wrote the source text of the show, contacted her for a feature that was published in August 2009, which became the foundation of the source text, Mulderick declined to be formally interviewed about the days after Hurricane Katrina. She has seemingly maintained such a stance ever since and has not publicly talked about her life or the events that happened at Memorial.
As per sources, Mulderick is working as Director of Performance Improvement in a health-related foundation in New Orleans, Louisiana. She has chosen to keep her personal life strictly private as well.
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