“Primum non nocere (First, do no harm)” is the often quoted Latin phrase that forms the basic idea of modern medical science. Every doctor takes the Hippocratic Oath, which states that they (the doctor) will do their best to free patients from their suffering. A part of the famous Hippocratic Oath reads as follows… “If it is given to me in order to save a life, I am grateful. But it can also be in my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be approached with great humility and in awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play God.” As patients, we all have complete trust in our doctor and follow his instructions without questioning them. The mere thought that our doctor deliberately harms us in any way is beyond our wildest imagination. Unfortunately, however, there have been many cases where doctors have committed despicable acts and even gone so far as to kill their patients. In many cases, murderous doctors have done so simply for the pleasure of killing!
Kermit Gosnell (1941-)
Kermit Gosnell is an American doctor based in Pennsylvania. He was proven guilty of the murder of four newborns. However, he was convicted of the murder of 8 newborns. The crimes he committed fall into the category of first-degree murder. There were also allegations of 21 late-term abortions. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Marcel Petiot (17 January 1897 – 25 May 1946)
On April 11, 1944, Petiot’s neighbors called the police and complained about a foul stench and the rising of a large amount of smoke from the chimney of Petiot’s house. Firemen entered his house and were surprised to find the remains of 23 bodies in the fire and in the cellar. A detailed description of his activities can be found in “Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer in Nazi-occupied Paris” by David King.
Petiot fled the city immediately and was caught after seven months. He tried to defend himself by saying that he would only kill the Nazi invaders and traitors. He used an injection of cyanide to kill his patients. He was found guilty of 135 criminal acts and was beheaded on May 25, 1946.
Dr. Bober was part of the notorious “killer for profit” group, and his accomplice was his bosom friend Paul Petrillo. They used to woo female patients, helping them to get rid of their abusive husbands by killing them. They demanded half of the insurance money from their female accomplices. They killed their prey by injecting them with poison and hitting them on the head with a sandbag, which caused brain haemorrhages. Dr. Bober was found guilty of 114 murders and executed in 1941 in the electric chair.
Harold Shipman (14 January 1946 – 13 January 2004)
This British doctor was found guilty of murdering 15 patients by injecting lethal doses of diamorphine. Lawyer Angela Woodruff was surprised to find out that her mother, Kathleen Grundy, who was treated by Dr Shipman, made a will in which she left the doctor £386,000, completely excluding her children. She took the case to court, and her mother’s body was exhumed and examined. It turned out to be a death by poisoning. Dr. Shipman was sent to prison, where he committed suicide in 2004.
John Bodkin Adams (21 January 1899 – 4 July 1983)
Dr. Adams was a fraud and a serial killer. Between 1946 and 1956, 160 patients under his care died under suspicious circumstances. 132 of them left money to the doctor in their wills. However, Adams was acquitted and died in 1983.
Josef Mengele (16 March 1911 – 7 February 1979)
Joseph Mengele was a German doctor and a scholar in the field of anthropology. He joined the Nazi party in 1937 and became an SS officer (Schutzstaffel) in 1938. He was in charge of the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp, where he carried out deadly experiments on prisoners. He was the one who selected those who were to be executed in gas chambers. After the fall of Berlin, Mengele fled to Brazil, where he spent the rest of his life.
Hu Wanlin (1949-)
Walin is considered one of the most prolific medical serial killers of all time. He received no formal medical training, but began his practice as a doctor. He also had two hospitals where he performed herbal treatments. His medicines contained a high proportion of sodium sulfate, which killed at least 146 of his patients. Wanlin was also found guilty of kidnapping and trafficking in women. Wanlin was arrested in 1999 and served 15 years in prison.
Donald Harvey (April 15, 1952-)
This American doctor believed in killing his patients to relieve the unbearable pain they were going through. As he said, at first he did this only with the intention of relieving the patient of their pain, but soon he began to enjoy killing people. He called himself the “angel of death”. He enjoyed poisoning people and making them ill. He poisoned his roommates, friends, and neighbors. He is currently incarcerated in the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, serving his 28-year life sentence.
Michael Swango (1954- )
Michael Swango is an American doctor who has been found guilty of poisoning many of his patients and colleagues. He is believed to be responsible for 60 deaths. However, he only admitted to four of them. He is currently serving his life sentence at ADX Florence Supermax Prison in Florence, Colorado.