Apple TV+’s medical drama ‘Five Days at Memorial’ follows the discovery of forty-five dead bodies in the New Orleans building that accommodate Memorial Medical Center and LifeCare Hospitals after Hurricane Katrina. The series progresses through the events that happen during the hurricane and the subsequent flood, which isolates the hospital building.
While the people get stuck in the building, Dr. Horace Baltz tries his best to maintain order and hope among his colleagues, patients, and their families. He is also one of the first persons to get interviewed after the discovery of the bodies. Upon watching his significant presence at Memorial, the viewers may wonder whether Baltz is based on a real-life doctor. Well, here’s everything you need to know about the same!
Is Dr. Horace Baltz Based on a Real Doctor?
Yes, Dr. Horace Baltz is based on the eponymous doctor who worked at Memorial during Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flood as an internal medicine specialist. Baltz started working at the hospital when it existed as “Southern Baptist Hospital.” He was one of Memorial/Baptist’s longest-serving doctors and a former president of its medical staff at the time of the hurricane. Baltz has also played an important part in formulating an ethics group at the hospital. Baltz was a leader to Memorial’s doctors, nurses, and other staff. While they were awaiting evacuation, Baltz expressed his belief that they all would get out of the building alive, which was received by applauses.
Baltz was eventually evacuated from the hospital building in a boat. The discovery of the dead bodies in Memorial and the accusations of euthanasia that targeted his colleagues unsettled him, as per Sheri Fink’s ‘Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital,’ the source text of the show. “He [Baltz] fretted about the tarnished reputation of the hospital where he had invested his entire career, the sterling reputation so many colleagues had worked hard and long to build and uphold at Baptist and Memorial,” Fink wrote in the source text. The accusations also led him to a distinct memory.
According to the source text, on September 1, 2005, before the conclusion of the evacuation, Baltz overheard three doctors, one saying, “our most difficult job will be to convince the nurses that what we ask them to do is all right.” What Baltz had overheard can be about euthanasia. When Memorial re-opened under new ownership, Baltz didn’t want to continue his practice at the same place. As per Fink’s book, Baltz wrote his note of resignation upon realizing that “his value systems and ethics were no longer in step with those of his colleagues.”
As per the source text, Baltz had also sent a letter to the Louisiana attorney general’s investigators to encourage them to continue investigating the potential mercy killings at the hospital. When Dr. Anna Pou was accused of euthanizing patients, Baltz had a hard time processing the news. “Pou’s alleged actions, he felt, destroyed the trust in the medical profession that is a foundation of society,” Fink added in her book.
Where is Dr. Horace Baltz Now?
After leaving Memorial, Dr. Horace Baltz joined Touro Infirmary, a non-profit hospital located in New Orleans, Louisiana. In August 2017, Baltz reportedly retired from his medical practice that lasted 58 years. He was also active in both Mater Dolorosa and St. Stephens Churches. Baltz died on December 6, 2017, due to respiratory failure following an infection. He was survived by his wife, two nieces, and a nephew. Baltz had devoted around forty-four years of his career to Southern Baptist Hospital/Memorial Medicine Center.
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