Dr. Death and My Morbid Fascination with True Crime Medical Horror

Let me talk about my fascination with medical horror. It’s a bit of a problem making me fretful to pass by a doctor’s office.

Anybody who knows me knows that I am a diehard true crime fanatic. I’m fascinated by stories of ordinary people driven to commit monstrous things. Traveling down the rabbit hole of my podcast library will reveal titles like My Favorite Murder, Criminal, Accused, Teacher’s Pet and a whole of horrifying truths of real people who project certain images of themselves out to the world.

It’s a real problem. Something I let haunt my sleeping hours as I lie awake and wonder about the worst impulses of human nature.

dipper lying awake

But strangely… I absolutely love it! And I’m not alone.

But recently, my taste for such tales has wandered into a rather specific genre: medical horror.

I’m not talking about the common trope of mad doctors with bloodlust in their eyes wielding sharp scalpels in slippery fingers as they creep closer to your chest cavity.

(Though not going to lie, those tales are fun too!)

mad doctor_cartoon

No, I’m talking about the real-life kind. You trust medical professionals to do their utmost to make you well. Their guiding principle is to “Do No Harm.” But what if you come out of an operation worst than you did before. The horror of finding yourself convulsing in agony and the doctors and nurses have no idea what’s wrong. Well, all but maybe one or two. And knowing, in the end, they get away with all the trauma they knowingly caused you. They could even do it it to more people because the systems in place to protect you weren’t doing that.

If you all find these topics just as fascinating, I have two recommendations.

dr. death thumbnail

The first is the podcast, Dr. Death. It follows the exploits of Dr. Christopher Duntsch retracing his stint from medical school to his infamous surgical career. Each of his operations left were live butcheries that left most of his patients paralyzed, in chronic pain, or dead. Fair warning, this is not for the faint of heart. The podcast goes into some pretty gruesome details of bone breaking and muscle shredding.

the good nurse


The second is a book called The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder by Charles Graebar. The book is a meticulously researched recounting of the life and murder spree of nurse Charles Cullen. A nurse who killed his victims by injecting unprescribed chemicals like digoxin and insulin into patient IV bags. It not only goes over the crimes themselves but delves into the personal life of the man at the center of the narrative. I could hardly put the book down!


Do you guys have any more suggestions for similar books, podcasts, TV shows on the same topic? I seriously can’t get enough of these type of stories!

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