As ‘Five Days at Memorial’ Tells Her Story, Where Is Dr. Anna Pou Now?
The new limited series Five Days at Memorial, the first three episodes of which are now streaming on Apple TV+, dramatizes the real-life story of a New Orleans hospital crippled after Hurricane Katrina. And Vera Farmiga portrays Dr. Anna Pou, one of the many medical professionals who treated patients in a sweltering, flooded Memorial Medical Center without power or water. Where is Dr. Anna Pou now? Keep reading, but beware that Five Days at Memorial spoilers lie ahead.
As Newsweek reports, the bodies of 45 patients were found in the hospital’s chapel in the wake of that August 2005 disaster, raising questions about the decisions made by the Memorial Medical Center staff, as well as allegations that staff members gave patients lethal doses of pain medication.
Anna Pou was arrested for second-degree murder, but a grand jury declined to indict her.
In July 2006, Anna Pou and two Memorial Medical Center nurses, Cheri Landry and Lori Budo, were arrested for second-degree murder, accused of injecting four patients with a lethal dose of morphine and/or midazolam, according to Newsweek.
Ultimately, the charges against Landry and Buda were dropped after they agreed to cooperate with the prosecution, and a grand jury declined to indict Pou, who denied the allegations. Her charges were expunged in July 2007.
She returned to work in 2007 and is still working as a surgeon to this day.
Pou resumed her job in February 2007 and is still working as a surgeon with a specialty in head and neck cancer to this day, Newsweekreports, and she helped author Louisiana laws to protect healthcare professionals from certain civil litigation regarding their work in disaster responses.
Pou explained her actions in an August 2007 interview with the magazine, saying,“The intention was to help the patients that were having pain and sedate the patients who were anxious. That was it. … Everything was done with their best interest in mind. First and foremost. Any medicines given were for comfort. If in doing so it hastened their deaths, then that’s what happened. But, this was not, ‘I’m going to go to the seventh floor and murder some people.’ We’re here to help patients.”
Pou was not involved with the TV show, and Vera Farmiga took her cues from Sheri Fink’s book.
The Apple TV+ series Five Days at Memorial is based on the 2013 book of the same name by Sheri Fink, which elaborates on Fink’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2009 New York Times Magazine article “The Deadly Choices at Memorial.” Fink is a producer of the TV series, but Pou was not involved with the production, Newsweek reports.
In an interview with Screen Rant, actress Vera Farmiga said that she hadn’t yet met with Anna. “I stuck with the script and Sheri Fink’s book that we dramatized,” she said. “I have yet to meet Anna. I hope I do one day, but I think Sheri did all the work for me in a sense. “
She went on: “For me, I think most important in my interpretation, honestly, was … to just understand how dire and abysmal the circumstances of the conditions in the hospital were. The sort of sheer exhaustion, frustration, or disgust with knowing that nobody is showing up. To tap into her innate character as a surgeon, as a most excellent surgeon, who is focused and cool-headed and detail-oriented. [The] roll-up-your-sleeves, get-the-job-done mentality. To portray all those.”