Apple TV+’s medical drama ‘Five Days at Memorial’ revolves around the discovery of 45 dead bodies in a New Orleans hospital building that accommodates Memorial Medical Center and LifeCare Hospitals after Hurricane Katrina. The series explores the events that lead to the discovery of the body, depicting the lives of patients, doctors and patients, and other people who get stuck in the building during the hurricane and the subsequent flood.
During the period, a Memorial doctor named Dr. Bryant King takes care of patients and prioritizes their well-being even if it means standing against his fellow senior doctors. After watching King’s no-nonsense approach toward patients, the viewers may want to know whether the character is based on a real doctor. Well, let’s find out!
Is Dr. Bryant King Based on a Real Doctor?
Yes, Dr. Bryant King is based on the eponymous doctor who worked at Memorial Medical Center during Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flood in 2005. At the time, King was new recruitment at the hospital. As per Sheri Fink’s ‘Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital,’ the source material of the show, King went against a senior doctor’s order to turn off his patient’s heart monitor during the initial days of the isolation of the hospital due to flood.
According to reports, when René Goux, the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer, decided against accepting new people to the hospital due to safety concerns, King reportedly “shouted” at him for doing the same and said that he “gotta help people.” King told Sheri Fink, the writer of the source material, that he saw Dr. Anna Pou holding a handful of syringes and telling a patient, “I’m going to give you something to make you feel better.”
As per Sheri Fink’s New York Times Magazine feature ‘The Deadly Choices at Memorial,’ King also remembered discussing with a colleague who asked him about hastening patients’ deaths after speaking with Pou and Susan Mulderick, the incident commander at the time. Upon seeing Pou with syringes, King reportedly assumed that Pou was intending to do mercy killing. “I’m getting out of here. This is crazy!” King said upon seeing Pou, as per the feature. King then left the hospital in a boat.
According to Sheri Fink’s 2013 book the show is based on, there were around 20-21 deceased patients at Memorial at the time of King’s departure from the hospital. When he came to know that 45 dead bodies were discovered at Memorial, he said he couldn’t believe how the dead body count could become twice in the span of a day. “If you lose twenty patients in a day, somebody is coming to investigate because there is something abnormal going on,” King said about the same, as per Fink’s eponymous book.
It was further stated that after starting to suspect Dr. Pou of allegedly euthanizing patients, King contacted his best friend to share about the possible euthanizing of patients. The same friend shared King’s messages to National Public Radio and reporter Joanne Silberner revealed the same through the program ‘All Things Considered.’ “King said some of the staff was starting to panic, even talking about helping some of the long-term acute care patients, those close to death, die,” revealed through the program, as per Fink’s book.
Where is Dr. Bryant King Now?
After the discovery of the dead bodies, Dr. Bryant King revealed to CNN that the discussion of euthanasia at Memorial was more than talk. As per reports, certain colleagues of King at Memorial at the time didn’t consider King’s actions ideal. As per the source material of the show, some of his colleagues spoke of King in terms of treachery. Currently, Bryant is far away from Memorial (presently known as Ochsner Baptist Medical Center) and New Orleans.
King is currently practicing internal medicine and nephrology independently in the city of Indianapolis, Indiana. He specializes in Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), Heart diseases, Hypertension, and Diabetes. In April 2020, King talked to the press about his experience as a Coronavirus disease patient. As per sources, King and his partner, Xochitl Smith, who also works in the medical field, reside in Indianapolis as well. He lovingly refers to the love of his life and best friend as “Luv Bug,” and the two seem blissfully happy in each other’s company. Well, we wish the lovely couple a thriving future ahead.