Is Dr. Horace Baltz a fictional version of a real doctor?
Yes, Dr. Horace Baltz is based on the real doctor of the same name who worked as an internal medicine specialist at Memorial during Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding. When Baltz first started working there, it was called “Southern Baptist Hospital.” At the time of the hurricane, he had long been a doctor at the Memorial/Baptiste and was a former chairman of the hospital’s medical staff. Baltz also played an important role in the creation of a hospital ethics group. Doctors, nurses, and other staff at Memorial viewed Baltz as a leader. As they waited to leave the building, Baltz said he thought everyone would make it out alive, to a round of applause.
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Eventually, a boat was used to get Baltz out of the hospital building. The book the show is based on, “Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital” by Sheri Fink, says that when he found the bodies at Memorial and heard that his colleagues had been charged of euthanasia, he was devastated. “He [Baltz] worried about the blemished reputation of the hospital where he had spent his entire career, the good reputation that so many of his colleagues had worked hard and long to build and nurture at Baptist and Memorial,” Fink wrote in the source text. The accusations also reminded him of something clear.
According to the source text, Baltz overheard three doctors speaking on September 1, 2005, before the evacuation was complete. One of the doctors said: “Our most difficult task will be to convince the nurses that what we are asking them to do is acceptable. What Baltz heard might have been to let people die early. Baltz did not want to continue practicing at the Memorial when it reopened under new ownership. Fink’s book says that Baltz wrote his resignation letter when he realized that “his values and ethics no longer matched those of his colleagues”.
According to the source text, Baltz also wrote a letter to investigators for the Louisiana Attorney General encouraging them to continue investigating possible mercy killings at the hospital. When Dr. Anna Pou was accused of killing patients, it was hard for Baltz to figure out what was going on. “Pou’s alleged actions, he believed, destroyed the trust in the medical profession that is the lifeblood of society,” Fink wrote in his book.
Where is Dr. Horace Baltz now?
After leaving Memorial, Dr. Horace Baltz went to work at Touro Infirmary, a non-profit making hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana. Baltz reportedly stopped practicing medicine after age 58 in August 2017. He was also involved with Mater Dolorosa Church and St. Stephens Church. Baltz died on December 6, 2017, as an infection prevented him from breathing. His wife, two nieces and a nephew all lived after him. Baltz had worked at Southern Baptist Hospital/Memorial Medicine Center for approximately forty-four years.