Diagnosis & Disease Information

Real Life Hannibal Lector

The Real-Life Hannibal Lecter Was a Scary Dude, Too

Thomas Harris is an American author best known for a series of suspense novels that showcased one of the most despicable fictional doctors ever. His second novel, Red Dragon, published in 1981, introduced his most infamous character, the cannibalistic killer, Dr. Hannibal Lecter. The books sequel, The Silence of the Lambs, was published in 1988, and the story was made into a major motion picture starring Anthony Hopkins as the dreadful Dr. Lecter, catapulting the murderous evil character into superstardom.

Jack the Ripper

The Doctor Is Cleared: Jack the Ripper Reportedly Identified

Jack the Ripper is the most notorious of all serial killers. There have been more books written and more movies made about him than any other murderer in history. The case of the infamous criminal has fascinated people for more than a century, and most intriguing of all is the fact that no person was ever charged with the crimes. Suspects have run the gamut, from barbers, lawyers, and famous authors, to even doctors. However, Jack the Ripper may have finally been identified, according to a UK businessman who privately funded an investigation into the 19th century case, and it turns out the killer wasnt a doctor, but a 23-year-old Polish immigrant named Aaron Kosminski.

Stephan Letter

Nurse Dubbed the “Angel of Death” Said He Was Helping Patients by Killing Them

The hospitals staff soon began to notice a disappearance of narcotics. They compared the clinics duty record against the dates that the drugs had been removed and concluded that Letter had been stealing them. When doctors first suspected that something sinister was going on, the bodies of 42 patients were exhumed from their graves, all of whom had died during Letters shifts. A total of 80 deaths took place during the nurses shifts, but 38 were unable to be examined because they had been cremated. The investigation revealed that Letter was fatally injecting patients with a cocktail of tranquilizers and muscle relaxants. He was arrested in July 2004 and admitted that he killed 12 patients by lethal injection, but that he could not remember any more. Most of his victims were at least in their 70s, so their deaths were at first overlooked. Letter claimed that he was administering lethal injections to his patients because he felt sorry for them. He wanted to liberate their souls, said Letters lawyer, Wilhelm van Eckert. For him, his patients were trapped in their sick bodies. However, 2 women who were in their 40s were given the lethal injections, and at least 6 patients were in no danger of dying. A few had even died soon after being admitted to the hospital but before being fully examined.

Dr. Jayant Patel

This Surgeon Spent His Entire Career as a Defendant in Court

Almost as soon as Dr. Jayant Patel’s medical career began, colleagues questioned his surgical skills. Complaints of gross incompetence and negligence ignited inquiries from medical authorities, causing Dr. Patel’s license to be restricted in the state of Oregon in 2000. He then moved to New York, where after a short time, medical authorities pressured him to surrender his medical license in that state for reasons of professional incompetence in 2001.

Despicable Doctors in Film

Not-so-Nice Fictional Doctors

This column usually deals with real-life doctors who broke their oaths, committed despicable crimes, and almost always ended up in prison to pay for their transgressions. But in honor of author Mary Shellys birthday (August 30, 1797), whose most famous novel, Frankenstein, has been turned into many major motion pictures, wed like to take a quick look at some of the most dangerous doctors in the history of film.

Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen

Hanged for Murdering His Boozing, Philandering, Show Biz–Wannabe Wife

A bespectacled, unassuming man who stood only 5 3 tall, Hawley Harvey Crippen fulfilled his childhood interest in medicine by graduating from the University of Michigan School of Homeopathic Medicine in 1884, and then securing an MD from Clevelands Homeopathic Hospital.

After medical school, he moved to New York and got a job with a homeopathic pharmaceutical company run by a Dr. Munyon. Shortly afterward, he met and wed Charlotte Bell, a nurse, and the couple had a son, Otto. In 1892, Charlotte died suddenly of apoplexy (a former medical term for a stroke). Crippen couldnt handle the stress of raising his son alone, so he persuaded his parents, who lived in California, to take total responsibility for the upbringing of his 2-year-old son.

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