A British Medical Association executive once remarked that serial killer Doctor Harold Shipman – believed to have murdered 250 people – was a “very rare case.”
Hate to break the news, BMA-man. You obviously haven’t been paying attention. The career of physician just happens to generate more homicide than any other profession.
Which is downright weird, when you think about it. Killer veterinarians are practically unheard of.
As far back as 1888 in London, “Jack the Ripper,” killed 5 women, and is believed by some investigators to have been a surgeon. Let’s take a peek at a few others:
The God Complex . . .
Both world and U.S. history reveals a plethora of multiple homicides by physicians. Any serious researcher can make a powerful argument that the medical profession acts as a magnet for those with pathological focus on the power of life and death. William Theodore Durrant, for example, was a student doctor in San Francisco who murdered two women in a church in 1895 – in what was called the “Demon in the Belfry” killings. Durrant was caught, convicted and hanged in 1898. Robert Diaz, a California nurse, pretended to be a doctor. He would administer secret injections and told his friends to call him “Doctor” Diaz. He was sentenced to death in 1984 for killing 12 patients with the heart medication xylocaine.
Family Members a Favorite Target . . .
The heavily insured wife and brother of Doctor William Palmer died suddenly of sickness and convulsions, preceded by his mother-in-law in 1849. He was a serial killer who is believed to have poisoned 13 kids and other family members and at least 1 friend. His drug of choice was strychnine.
In 1881 Doctor George Lamson poisoned his two brothers-in-law in order to inherit their estates.
Doctor De La Pommerais used digitalis to kill his wife’s mother for her estate, and then killed his mistress for an insurance policy, in 1863.
Doctor Edward W. Pritchard – back in the mid-1880’s – killed his fourth child; then took out an insurance policy on his young housemaid and killed her too. He then poisoned his mother-in-law and first wife with antimony. He was the last person to be publicly hanged in Scotland.
Doctor J. Milton Bowers’ three wives were all heavily insured and died under suspicious circumstances, one in 1865 and the other two in the 1880s.
Doctor George Chapman, one of the “Jack the Ripper” suspects, was hanged for the serial poisoning of three of his partners with antimony.
Doctor Bennett C. Hyde killed three of his family members using cyanide and strychnine, which allowed him to inherit the family estate. His sister-in-law also became deathly ill for some strange reason. Wonder of wonders, a doctor who was about to testify against him mysteriously died just before the trial, back in 1910.
In 1935 Doctor Buck Ruxton dissected his wife and maid with a jigsaw and scattered their parts along the Scottish Border.
Doctor Henry Lovell Clark, a doctor in the Indian medical service in the 1930s, conspired with his girlfriend to murder first her husband with arsenic then his wife, who was killed by paid assassins.
In 1947 Doctor Robert Clements of the Royal College of Surgeons murdered his fourth wife with morphine for her money. He is believed to have murdered his first three wives too, as he signed their death certificates. Both he and the doctor he called to examine his dying fourth wife diagnosed leukemia. That doctor later committed suicide.
In 1954 Doctor Sam Sheppard (of “The Fugitive” fame) was convicted of killing his wife by hitting her in the head 35 times. Then his mother and mother-in-law died mysteriously, and he was sued after two surgical deaths. His second wife obtained a restraining order because of his threats to kill her.
Doctor Carl Coppolino murdered his doctor-wife with a muscle relaxant. Under his supervision his mistress also injected her husband with the same muscle relaxant, who died suddenly of “coronary thrombosis” after being attended by Coppolino. He was convicted in 1967.
The particularly wealthy wife of a Doctor John Hill, Joan, died after an unexpected illness in 1969, in Houston. Hill made certain she was embalmed before the toxicology tests that her father demanded could be done. He then married another woman, who told police the doctor was trying to kill her too. She reported that he had told her he had killed his brother with morphine and his father and a family friend. He was assassinated on his front porch 1972.
You may recall Doctor Jeffrey Macdonald, the U.S. Army captain who still sits in prison for murdering his pregnant wife and 2 little girls in 1970.
In the 1990s two American doctors committed double filicide. A doctor in St. Louis murdered his two sons, several years apart, for their insurance money. Doctor Debra Green, a cancer specialist, killed two of her children by burning the house down and confessed to trying to kill her third child by arson and her doctor-husband by ricin poisoning.
Killing Strangers . . .
Doctor Thomas Neill Cream, the London “Prostitute Poisoner,” was the first male serial killer to be hanged in England, in 1892. He also killed three women in America.
Doctor Marcel Petiot, France’s worst ever serial killer, murdered at least 100 people during the second world war for their possessions.
American Doctor Morris Bolber made a fortune from an insurance scam that involved killing 30 Italian immigrants in the 1930s. Bolber teamed up with the “Philadelphia Witch” – a woman who had poisoned her husband. She provided Bolber with the names of potential victims.
Killers of Patients . . .
Doctor Michael Swango, one of America’s most outrageous serial killers, is believed to have murdered 60 patients and colleagues. He also killed several people in Africa in the 1990s. But the medical establishment refused to take the actions needed to stop him until the very end – long, long after they knew there was something seriously wrong with the guy.
In 1967 Doctor Ronald E. Clark in Detroit, sexually assaulted his patients and then killed them with sodium pentothal. 10 years later Doctor Mario Jascalevich of New Jersey murdered five patients with curare. A Norwegian doctor, Arnfinn Nesset, is believed to have killed as many as 138 patients, using curare over a five-year period in the late 1970s, perhaps obtaining sexual satisfaction while watching them die. He at first used an insanity – then euthanasia – defense, but the jury found him guilty on 21 counts of murder.
Doctor Harry Howard Holmes, the “torture doctor,” is believed to have killed at least 200 women in his “murder castle” in Chicago, between 1892-1896. Holmes was the first serial killer hanged in America.
Doctor Jean-Paul Marat, one of the most bloodthirsty animals to walk the earth was – during the French revolution – a trail blazer in political serial killing by proxy. Marat wrote: “In order to ensure public tranquility, 200000 heads must be cut off.” Marat’s assassination in 1793 made him a martyr in the public’s eyes, and all over France streets and towns are named after him.
The appalling Haitian dictator “Papa Doc” Duvalier, first known as a tropical medicine specialist, ordered mass executions in the 1960s. He bragged that his “curse” was responsible for the assassination of John Kennedy. Regardless, he is certainly responsible for 30,000 others.
Of course the killers without peers were the Nazi doctors, who engaged in ethnic genocide. Josef Mengele would torture Jewish children, Gypsy children and thousands others. “Patients” were put into pressure chambers; tested with drugs; castrated; frozen to death, and exposed to other traumas. It is believed he was directly responsible for the murder of 1,500,000 children, and his favorite thing in the world was to perform surgical experiments on twins.
Likewise at Auschwitz, Doctor Herta Oberhauser killed children with oil injections; cut off their arms and legs; cut out their internal organs; rubbed ground glass and sawdust into wounds. She drew a 20-year sentence as a war criminal, but was released in 1952 – as criminal physicians generally are in this country – and became a family doctor at Germany.
Here at Medical Miscreants, it is our sincere hope there is a special niche in Hell for each and every one of these medical monsters.
In the meantime, we strongly suggest that a wise society might do well to pay attention.
History does tend to repeat itself, and there exists no creature on the planet more dangerous to your wellbeing than a stranger in a lab coat.
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