The real-life doctor left his patients permanently maimed or dead after taking them into surgery, according to court documents filed in his case. Detectives unraveled the case to charge and arrest him before he was convicted in 2017, accused of killing two patients and injuring dozens of other victims at hospitals in north Texas, including Baylor Scott & White Medical Center Plano, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Peacock, NBC’s streaming platform, is bringing the story to the screen in a series that premieres Thursday, July 15, 2021. The series was based on a chart-topping podcast by former Dallas Morning News journalist Laura Beil. Read on for more about the real Dr. Death. Joshua Jackson, Alec Baldwin, Christian Slater and AnnaSophia Robb in Peacock’s limited series, Dr. Death.
Here’s what you need to know:
Duntsch Dodged Criminal Charges for Years Due to Tort Reforms for Medical Malpractice Cases & Continued Practicing Medicine
It took years for Duntsch to face criminal charges, even after leaving patients injured or dead after treatment, the Texas Observer reported. Even after receiving complaints, he continued practicing medicine and did not lose his medical license until one year after the Texas Medical Board received its first complaint against him, the newspaper reported.
“A handful of Duntsch’s patients turned to the courts to hold Duntsch and the hospitals accountable. In legal filings, they allege Duntsch was erratic, and even under the influence of drugs and alcohol while performing surgery. But his patients faced a roadblock: the decade-old tort reforms that raised the burden of proof and reduced the potential payout for medical malpractice cases,” the Observer wrote.
Then, in 2015, a Dallas County grand jury indicted Duntsch on six counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to court documents. The weapons listed in charging documents included his hands and surgical tools.
On February 20, 2017, he was convicted of injury to an elderly person and sentenced to life in prison, according to his inmate records. He is currently imprisoned at the Ellis Unit in Walker County, Texas.
Here is his inmate record:
The O.B. Ellis Unit is located 12 miles north of Huntsville, Texas, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The prison has an inmate capacity of 2,073 inmates.
The Charging Documents for ‘Dr. Death’ Detail the Injuries Caused to Patients in Surgery
A Texas grand jury indicted Duntsch for injuries caused to five patients: Jeff Glidewell, Mary Efurd, Jennifer Rich, Jeff Cheney and Floella Brown, according to his grand jury referral. The charging documents detail the way that patients suffered.
The court document says Glidewell was injured “by cutting the esophagus and cutting the vertebral artery and occluding the vertebral artery and leaving a sponge inside the complainant’s body.” In the case of Mary Efurd, documents say a nerve root was amputated.
The Texas Observer reported that Duntsch wrote a 30,000-word rebuttal in the comments section of an article published in May 2015, before he was indicted on his charges.
“I am ranked in the top 2% in the world against 4 million scientists and higher than the last 10 nobel prize winners,” Duntsch wrote, according to the Observer. For quoting another doctor who described him as a “sociopath,” the newspaper said Duntsch threatened “100000 law suits [sic].”