Prosecutors: Ex-Surgeon Calls Himself ‘Killer’

26 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

7 chilling thoughts of jailed neurosurgeon Christopher Duntsch.

DALLAS (AP) — A neurosurgeon facing criminal charges alleging he may have intentionally hurt patients who had turned to him to resolve debilitating injuries sent a chilling email to his girlfriend saying he was ready to “become a cold blooded killer,” according to prosecutors.No one but Christopher Duntsch can know exactly what he was thinking when the Plano neurosurgeon allegedly botched surgeries in Dallas and Plano in 2012 and 2013, killing or maiming up to 15 patients.

It was this e-mail, sent on Dec. 11, 2011, that marked Christopher Duntsch’s transformation from a promising young neurosurgeon to a “danger to patients” accused of purposefully botching surgeries, authorities say. Authorities in Dallas County say Christopher Duntsch’s hands and the surgical tools he used amounted to “deadly weapons” as he performed surgeries. But police say an email Duntsch wrote in 2011 points to his mind-set in the months before he “intentionally, knowingly and recklessly” messed up the procedures. Duntsch is charged with five counts of aggravated assault for allegedly mishandling spinal surgeries, and one count of injuring an elderly person, according to the Dallas Morning News. Duntsch is accused of wide-ranging malpractice that includes improperly placing screws and plates along the spines of patients, leaving a sponge in one patient and cutting the major vein of another, according to a search warrant and records on file with the medical board.

Several people were severely injured on Duntsch’s operating table, local media have reported, and at least two died during procedures that aren’t normally dangerous. He also operated on the wrong part of a patient’s spine, damaged nerves and left one woman with chronic pain and dependent on a wheelchair, according to criminal and civil court records. The rambling, four-page email, sent Dec. 9, 2011, to an employee with whom Duntsch had a “personal relationship,” has been submitted as evidence in Duntsch’s criminal case. His colleagues described him in the harshest superlatives: “‘worst surgeon I’ve ever seen,’” “‘sociopath.’” “I couldn’t believe a trained surgeon could do this,” Robert Henderson, another surgeon at Dallas Medical Center, where Duntsch performed several operations, told the Observer. “He just had no recognition of the proper anatomy.

In yet another incident, Duntsch allegedly “knowingly selected and installed” a screw that was “far too long”, causing blood loss and muscle and nerve damage. “I am very well-pleased that he will remain in jail and that justice will eventually be served for the crimes that he has committed,” one of his alleged victims, Philip Mayfield, 45, said. Here are seven chilling statements from that email: “Unfortunately, you cannot understand that I really am building an empire, and I am so far outside the box that the earth is small and the sun is bright. … I have three lawsuits. I have 1M in debt, 10M invested, and 22 years of pain in misery already on the table” “Anyone close to me thinks that I likely am something between god, Einstein and the antichrist. At every step of the way, you would have to know the right thing to do so you could do the wrong thing, because he did all the wrong things.” In one case, authorities allege, Duntsch operated on his roommate and friend after a night of using cocaine. But unfortunately, despite the fact I am winning it is not happening fast enough.” “You, my child, are the only one between me and the other side.

McClung said authorities have not independently investigated allegations against Duntsch and have done nothing more than “rubber stamp” claims made in civil lawsuits. Despite Duntsch’s bad reputation, Baylor hadn’t done anything to stop him from operating elsewhere; Texas law limits hospitals’ responsibility for their doctors’ actions, the Observer explained, and the only entity that can remove a doctor’s license is the Texas Medical Board, which can do so only after receiving and investigating a complaint. And never when i not standing there. “You were a major in a military organization, and that is the only reason you can have a slight inkling of the manner in which I want you to treat me and respect me” Duntsch is a clear and present danger to the citizens of Texas.” After losing his medical license, Duntsch moved to Centennial, Colorado, and found work as a bio-medical consultant.

My record is excellent,” he said. “Ninety-nine percent of everything that has been said about me is completely false.” But the hospitals where he worked are also facing scrutiny over their treatment of Duntsch. If so many doctors knew that he was, in one colleague’s words, a “clear and present danger” to patients, why was he allowed to continue operating for so long?

When Duntsch left Baylor and began searching for work at other hospitals, Baylor provided a letter saying that his medical record there was clean, though it was not addressed to any hospital and was not a letter of recommendation, Baylor said.

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