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Dr Harold Shipman told his unsuspecting patients he was conducting blood tests as he injected them with a massive dose of heroin; they were dead within minutes. Before his trial, many assumed he was an over-zealous GP who went too far in providing comfort to dying patients. In the end, he was found guilty of deliberately and coldly murdering 218 of his patients. But although Britan's worst serial killer, he is far from alone.
I've been meaning to read this book for a while now - the subject being doctor's who kill. It's a smallish book that summarises a number of medical murders - including the best known from recent times - Dr Harold Shipman in the UK. But it doesn't just concentrate on Shipman. The book also looks at the cases such as the Australian experience with Deep Sleep Therapy at Chelmsford; Dr William Palmer who poisoned people for the insurance money; Dr Marcel Petiot in 1944 Occupied Paris; Dr Radovan Karadizic the psychiatrist who led the genocide in the Bosnian war and a number of other interesting, and different examples.
The sobering thing about many of the cases looked at in this book is how "untouchable" a doctor can often be - the lack of scrutiny, even an unwillingness to believe that a doctor could possibly be totally out of control was extremely disturbing.
But this isn't a disturbing book as the writer gives analysis and possible reasons for all of the extreme behaviours. The book also highlights a lot of the reasons why the doctors were able to get away with their behaviour, and in many cases, what led to their downfall.
Undoutedly uncomfortable subject matter - but interesting nonetheless.
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