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Christopher Duntsch's Emails Are Threatening and Bewildering, Much Like 'Dr. Death' Himself
Christopher Duntsch, known as "Dr. Death" tried to explain himself in rambling emails, but he only made things worse for his criminal case.
Christopher Duntsch, the former neurosurgeon, and subject of Peacock's docuseries, "Dr. Death: The Undoctored Story," was a man who knew how to talk his way out of things. In a disastrous two-year stint as a practicing surgeon in Texas, Duntsch left 34 patients injured or maimed. Two of those patients died. But up until the bitter end he insisted – in interrogations, in emails, and in the public comments sections of online publications – that he was being unfairly persecuted.
In the end however, Duntsch would not be able to talk his way out of a conviction for injury to an elderly person, a crime for which he's currently serving life in a Texas prison. In fact, Duntsch's words likely contributed to his guilty verdict.
In 2011, even before any criminal charges were filed, his personal and public communications were becoming increasingly bizarre. In one email he wrote to his physician's assistant and girlfriend Kimberly Morgan, he ranted against people the people he felt were standing in the way of his financial success and declared that he was ready to, "become a cold blooded killer," in his business dealings. In the same chain of messages, he also refers to a "weekend with a pregnant girl and a plate of C and three bottles of vodka” and bemoans the amount of money he has lost and the damage that others, "the police, the defamation, the nurses, the hospital" have done to his career.
And Duntsch wasn't only emailing his intimate acquaintances. In a message to an attorney working on behalf of some of Duntsch's former patients he vacillates between insults: "Is it possible that you do not know that each statement is random, NA, wrong, gross negligence, made up, criminal negligence. Everyone! Every statement in the press! Every legal matter one sided. Why you? Because you are amateur in strategy, but devastating in approach."
Threats: "This atypical email is one you should read carefully. The criticisms are real, the complements deserved, the outcomes of your actions in the present accurate and your doing, and my actions in response to the following are devastating if you don’t cease, or take my advice."
And even make the suggestion that the attorney should stop working against Duntsch and instead hire him: "If you want to win med mal, I suggest that you give me each case, 1K$ per hour, and if med mal, I will give you the best expert witness review that can be created. Per firm, city, years, I have 18 years as an expert witness in Memphis, NY, CA, Dallas, I will not create med mal, but if it exists you will never lose. I only do informal review, your puppet takes it to trial."
But it was the public comments that Duntsch left online in The Texas Observer that perhaps best reveal his increasing desperation and inability to accept any responsibility for the catastrophic outcomes of his surgeries – or any of his actions – including a bizarre shoplifting spree. The Observer published a series of articles that were critical of Duntsch and the Texas Board of Medicine.
In what amounts 87 printed pages of an online back and forth in the comments section of a Texas Observer article about Duntsch's arrest for shoplifting pants from Walmart, Duntsch promises to react to every article that has been written about him in the magazine saying, "The link to this extensive embarassment (sic) of a large number of parties here, will be posted later today." He then goes on to make several defamatory statements about the doctors who had spoken out against him, the "lay people" of Texas, and "female attorney" Key Van Wey. He reserves most of his ire for Dr. Randall Kirby, the vascular surgeon who was among the first to speak out against him and remained determined that Duntsch face justice.
Even still, he has time for rambling digressions on topics such as the philosophical argument for the existence of a "vacuum" in which he quotes everyone from Plato to the "Islamic scholar Al-Farabi."
Throughout all the written communication Duntsch left as a matter of public record, it is his narcissism that is the defining theme. And that belief that he was superior – that he was above the law – would eventually play a major role in the undoing of his life.