Apple TV+’s medical drama ‘Five Days at Memorial’ revolves around Memorial Medical Center and LifeCare Hospitals, two hospitals that operate in the same New Orleans building. After Hurricane Katrina, the building gets isolated due to the flood. The officials of both the hospitals try their best to manage their patients and their family members, doctors and nurses, and other staff.
Diane Robichaux, the person in charge of LifeCare, fights for her patients by demanding the evacuation of the same. She regularly talks to Susan Mulderick, Memorial’s Incident Commander, to include LifeCare patients in the evacuation efforts of the main hospital. Inspired by the character, we have found out whether Robichaux has a real-life counterpart. Let us share our findings!
Is Diane Robichaux Based on a Real Assistant Administrator?
Yes, Diane Robichaux is based on the eponymous employee of LifeCare Hospitals, who worked at the hospital as its Assistant Administrator and Incident Commander during Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flood. She was seven months pregnant at the time as well. When the evacuation of LifeCare patients became a necessity, Robichaux contacted LifeCare’s corporate offices in Texas, which assured the patients’ evacuation along with Memorial’s patients. She then asked Memorial administrators to include 52 LifeCare patients in their evacuation plans.
According to Sheri Fink’s eponymous book, on which the show is based, Robichaux told investigators that Susan said to her that “the plan is not to leave any living patients behind” when she asked the latter when her patients would be evacuated. Robichaux had talked to authorities who were investigating Anna Pou’s involvement in multiple deaths that happened in the hospital building during the flood.
According to Fink’s book, Therese Mendez, LifeCare’s Nurse Executive, told Robichaux that Pou was going to give the patients “lethal doses” (Pou’s lawyer denied that those words were used by the doctor). Robichaux was then airlifted from the building to a Tenet hospital. The affidavit created by Virginia Rider, the lead investigator of the Memorial case, to arrest Anna Pou, Cheri Landry, and Lori Budo included information she garnered from interviewing Robichaux.
The then-assistant administrator had also testified in front of the grand jury sworn in to consider Pou’s case along with her then-colleague Therese Mendez. The latter testified that “Pou came upstairs to LifeCare and said that she was assuming responsibility for the patients and that they would be given a lethal dose of drugs,” as per the source material. Robichaux and Mendez added that they didn’t see what happened next since they had to leave to clear the LifeCare staff off the floor.
Where is Diane Robichaux Now?
Diane Robichaux is currently working as an Occupational Therapist at a Louisiana-based institution that offers services to infants and toddlers with developmental delays/disabilities and their families. She joined the institution in 2006 after leaving LifeCare in the same year. After the flood and the subsequent case, Robichaux has not encouraged much interaction with the media about her experiences.
When Sheri Fink, the writer of the source text of the show, reached out to her for a feature, which turned out to be the foundation of the source text, Robichaux declined to talk. Robichaux is currently residing in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana, seemingly with her husband and kids.