“Primum non nocere (First Do No Harm) “is the oft-quoted Latin phrase that forms the basic tenet of modern medical science. Every Doctor takes the Hippocratic Oath, which mandates that they (doctors) do their best to relieve the patients of their suffering. Part of the famous Hippocratic Oath is as follows… “If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.” As patients, we all keep complete faith on our doctor and follow their instructions without questioning. The mere thought of our doctor intentionally harming us in any way, is beyond our wildest imaginations. However, sadly there have been many cases where doctors have committed despicable acts and even went to the extent of killing their patients. In many cases, they did so, merely for the pleasure of killing!
1. Kermit Gosnell (1941-)
Kermit Gosnell is an American doctor based in Pennsylvania. He has been proven guilty of killing 4 newborns. However, he was convicted for the murder of 8 newborns. The crimes committed by him fall in the category of first-degree murder. There are also allegations of performing 21 late term abortions. He has been sentenced to life imprisonment.
2. Marcel Petiot (17 January 1897 – 25 May 1946)
On April 11th of 1944 Petiot’s neighbors called the police and complained about foul stench and billowing of a large amount of smoke from the chimney of Patriots house. The firemen entered his house and were surprised to find the remains of 23 corpses in the fire and in the basement. Detailed description of his activity can be found in “Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Nazi-Occupied Paris” by David King. Petit fled the city immediately and was caught after seven months. He tried to defend himself saying he was killing only the Nazi invaders and traitors. He used cyanide injection to kill his patients. He was proven guilty of 135 criminal charges and was beheaded on 25 May 1946.
3. Morris Bober
Dr. Bolber was part of the notorious killers-for- profit group, and his accomplice was his bosom friend Paul Petrillo. They used to woo the female patients to get rid of their husband’s ill-treatment by eliminating them. They claimed half the insurance money from their lady accomplices. They used to kill their preys by poison injection and blows to the head with a sandbag, causing cerebral hemorrhage. Dr. Bolder was found guilty of 114 murders and was executed by electric chair in 1941.
4. Harold Shipman (14 January 1946 – 13 January 2004)
This British physician has been 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 being treated by Dr.Shipman, made a will in which she left 386,000 pounds to the doctor excluding her children. She took it up legally, and her mother’s body was exhumed and when examined. It turned out to be a death by poisoning. Dr. Shipman was put in prison, where he committed suicide in 2004.
5. John Bodkin Adams (21 January 1899 – 4 July 1983)
Dr. Adams was a fraudster and serial killer. Between 1946 to 1956, 160 patients who are under his treatment died under suspicious circumstances. Out of which, 132 left money for the doctor in their will. However, Adams was acquitted and died in 1983.
6. Josef Mengele (16 March 1911 – 7 February 1979)
Joseph Mengele was a German physician and a scholar in the field of anthropology. He joined the Nazi party in 1937 and became an SS ( Schutzstaffel ) officer in 1938. He was in charge of the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp where he carried out deadly experimentations on the prisoners. He was the one to choose the ones (prisoners) to be executed in gas chambers. After the fall of Berlin, Mengele fled to Brazil, where he spent the rest of the life.
7. Hu Wanlin (1949-)
Walin is considered to be one of the most prolific medical serial killer, ever. He did not receive any formal medical education, however, started his practice as a doctor. He also had two hospitals, where he provided herbal treatment. His medicines contained a high amount of sodium sulfate, which killed at least 146 of his patients. Wanlin has also been found guilty of abducting and trafficking women. Wanlin was arrested in 1999 and was put in prison for 15 years.
8. Donald Harvey (April 15, 1952-)
This American doctor believed in killing his patients, in order to ease the unbearable pain that they were going through. As per him, initially he did it only with the intension of relieving the patient of his pain but soon started to enjoy killing people. He called himself the “Angel of Death”. He took pleasure in poisoning people and making them sick. He poisoned his roommate, friends, and neighbors. Currently, he is incarcerated in Southern Ohio Correctional Facility and is serving his 28 years life sentence.
9. Michael Swango (1954- )
Michael Swango is an American physician who was found guilty of poisoning many of his patients and colleagues. It is believed that he is responsible for 60 deaths. However, he admitted to only four. Currently, he is serving his life sentence at the ADX Florence supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.