Shows how an apparently respectable young doctor murdered patients and poisoned co-workers while being consistently protected by an oblivious and dangerously secretive medical establishment.
"Pulitzer Prize^-winning journalist Stewart's thoroughly researched new book tells an appalling story that will upset many readers and may even shame the medical profession into cleaning up its act. Michael Swango, long fascinated by violent death, took five years to obtain his M.D. because of scholastic problems and lackadaisical patient care (he was fired from a part-time ambulance job for endangering a patient). Despite his questionable record, Ohio State gave him an internship and residency in neurosurgery. When moderately ill patients in the hospital at Columbus began to die unexpectedly, questions were raised about Swango's involvement, but the university hushed things up. Swango's reputation was further damaged in 1985 when he was found guilty of putting arsenic in the food and drink of several ambulance crew colleagues, and he spent two years in jail. Nevertheless, Swango obtained further residencies in South Dakota and New York--and patients in both places suffered like those in Ohio. Careless checking of his residency applications and institutional stonewalling gave Swango a free hand. Eventually, he obtained a hospital position in Zimbabwe, and patients began dying once more. Arrested on returning to the U.S., Swango was again jailed. The FBI believes he was responsible for as many as 60 deaths. Stewart castigates the medical profession's blind eye, asserting that "the loyalty among physicians makes police officers `blue wall of silence' seem porous in comparison." In conclusion, Stewart lays out steps the government must take and enforce to deal effectively with future Swangos. --William Beatty"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"In a harrowing and exhaustively researched account of neglect by the medical profession, a Pulitzer Prize-winning editor and author (Den of Thieves) presents convincing evidence that alleged serial killer Michael Swango injected a minimum of 35 patients with various toxic substances during the 15 years he was a medical student at Southern Illinois University, an intern at Ohio State University Medical Center and a physician at various hospitals in the U.S. and in Africa. In addition, the author makes a strong case that Swango, who has been described by many as charismatic, was responsible for the severe digestive upsets that plagued his colleagues and friends due to poisoned food and drink. Since Swango has never been evaluated by a psychologist, Stewart relies on the work of medical researchers who view serial killers as psychopathic narcissists. The major strength of Stewart's study, however, rests on his expos of poor medical monitoring practices. For example, when female nursing personnel linked mysterious patient deaths to Swango's injections, male physicians dismissed their suspicions. Swango was finally sent to prison in 1985 after being convicted of poisoning his co-workers while he was employed as a paramedic. After his release, he found work at other teaching hospitals because they were not required to check with the national practitioners' data bank, a self-monitoring mechanism endorsed by the AMA that Stewart considers inadequate. Currently serving time in prison on fraud charges, Swango faces an FBI investigation for murder. Agent, Amanda Urban; 9-city author tour; TV satellite tour. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved