In a Dallas Texas courtroom this week a jury sent a former neurosurgeon to life in prison. He had repeatedly and carelessly killed and injured patients during surgeries he had no business trying to perform.
The physician’s name is Doctor Christopher Duntsch, and during the sentencing portion of the trial – which lasted 14 days – the prosecution reviewed the appalling history of this lab coat disaster, beginning with the years he spent in medical school. They focused on the premise that this so-called “surgeon” certainly knew he was incompetent all along – that he was routinely performing procedures he did not have the skills to do. But he bumbled through complex operations anyway. By finally determining the verdict of “guilty” the jury agreed.
Duntsch’s surgical outcomes were far, far worse than the accepted levels of common medical errors. So he was eventually arrested on 5 charges of Assault with a Deadly Weapon. Sadly, he injured and destroyed many lives before he was finally stopped. Because, as so often happens within the cloistered world of medicine, Duntsch was allowed to operate on patients at Dallas Medical Center, Baylor Regional Medical Center, Legacy Surgical Center in Plano and University General Hospital, even after he’d had one poor patient, Kellie Martin, bleed to death during an operation.
Plano surgeon Christopher Duntsch left a trail of bodies. The shocking story of a madman with a scalpel (Matt Goodman, Dallas Magazine)
This stunningly careless physician carved a swathe of human carnage in north Texas year after year. His best friend, for example, was a man named Jerry Summers, who made the mistake of trusting Duntsch to cut on his spinal chord. He had no way of knowing that Duntsch was an egomaniacal monster. So Jerry Summers is now totally paralyzed. And still, the surgical horrors continued. During the trial, the prosecutors detailed how at least 31 patients at 4 different medical centers, suffered serious unnecessary injuries in less than 2 years, in the hands of a madman.
Here’s another look at this recent healthcare embarrassment:
The Dallas Morning News did a good job chronicling the final day of testimony, including impact statements by some of his victims.