Content note: This post contains mild spoilers for the podcast Dr Death.
Christopher Duntsch has always been the kind of person who never gives up.
If he sets himself a goal, he’ll stop at nothing to achieve it – even if it means innocent people have to die.
According to Rolling Stone, the now 47-year-old is responsible for the deaths of two people and the serious injury of many more.
Duntsch, a former neurosurgeon, operated on 38 patients in Dallas over a two year period. Two did not survive, a further 31 of his patients suffered serious injuries or were permanently paralysed as a result of the surgery he performed on them.
Duntsch’s history of malpractice, and the system that allowed him to flourish, are now the subject of a new podcast by Wondery called Dr Death.
Dr Death is the latest podcast from the creators of Dirty John. The podcast is researched, reported and hosted by journalist Laura Beil, and the central mystery isn’t so much what happened, but how?
How did Duntsch complete his medical training and continue to keep landing jobs in his field?
“One of the shocking things for me is that there were several gatekeepers along the way, there were several places where the entity involved could have stopped him—starting with his medical school—and nobody did,” Beil said at a listening event in New York.
“At every juncture something that should have happened to stop him didn’t happen. And I don’t know that that’s even that unusual.”
According to Dallas Magazine, Duntsch was born in Montana but grew up in an affluent suburb east of Memphis. He was the eldest of four children.
His mother was a school teacher and his father a physical therapist.
Duntsch would complete his undergraduate degree at the University of Memphis and his post graduate degrees at the University of Tennessee.