The sixth episode of Apple TV+’s medical drama ‘Five Days at Memorial’ depicts the start of the investigation of the forty-five dead bodies that get discovered in New Orleans’ Memorial Medical Center after Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flood. Arthur “Butch” Schafer, the lead prosecutor of the case and an assistant attorney general of the state, teams up with Special Agent Virginia Rider of his Medicaid Fraud Control Unit to unravel the truth behind the deaths and allegations against healthcare workers. Rider’s determination to solve the case succeeds in captivating the viewers, making them eager to know about the real-life connections of the character. Well, here’s what we know about the same!
Virginia Rider is an agent of real special interest?
Yes, Virginia Rider is based on a real person who worked as a special agent in Louisiana’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at the time of Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flood. When an attorney for LifeCare alleged that Dr. Anna Pou administered morphine to several patients, as per Sheri Fink’s eponymous source text of the show, Arthur “Butch” Schafer joined Rider to start investigating the dead bodies. Rider sought copies of Tenet’s medical records, but was turned down. Rider, Schafer and others visited Memorial with subpoenas, but were denied entry to the hospital.
Rider then interviewed LifeCare’s assistant administrator Diane Robichaux, medicine director Kristy Johnson, and pharmacist Steven Harris, who revealed Pou’s alleged involvement in the deaths of some of the LifeCare patients. Along with Schafer and the special agent, they formed a search group to find evidence at Memorial hospital. They discovered a number of medical materials that they were able to send to labs. Rider and Schafer interviewed Memorial employees, including Susan Mulderick (Dr. Bryant King). After months of investigation, Rider and Schafer’s case got concentrated on the death of four LifeCare patients.
Dr. Anna Pou, Cheri Landry and Lori Budo, Memorial nurses, were both arrested and charged with four counts each of being a principal for a second-degree crime. Rider received a blow when New Orleans coroner Frank Minyard revealed that he couldn’t find evidence of homicide since a successful murder prosecution in New Orleans depended on a coroner’s medical determination of homicide. Rider couldn’t hold back her reaction, especially since Minyard had “told her that he believed the deaths were homicides,” as per Fink’s book. “How could you do this? How could you say this?” Rider asked Minyard, as per the source material of the show. On July 24, 2007, Anna Pou was not indicted by the grand jury.
Virginia Rider is Where Are You Now?
The grand jury’s decision to not indict Anna Pou was not the outcome Virginia Rider expected. She “did not believe justice had reached its end in the case,” as per Fink’s book. Rider was fired from the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit after she received a new opportunity. “Schafer didn’t see the emotion behind her departure as much as he saw that it would make her more money and give her the chance to become a CPA,” Fink wrote in the source material about Rider’s departure from Schafer’s unit. She was eventually an accountant like her mother.
Rider began to withdraw from the media after she left the Medicaid Fraud Prevention Unit. She seemingly doesn’t maintain a social media presence and has chosen to keep her personal life private. She was located an hour from Baton Rouge in Louisiana at the time of her investigation. Rider suffered greatly when Minyard failed to declare the deaths in LifeCare patients homicide. “Rider was taking the case personally, while she knew she shouldn’t. […] She had overwhelming evidence to support the claim of homicides. She had earned the right to be disappointed, to be devastated,” Fink wrote in the source material of the show.
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