Dr Death, starring Joshua Jackson, Christian Slater and Alec Baldwin began streaming on Stan in July, introducing audiences to the twister true tale of Dr Christopher Duntsch who had a good reason for earning his ominous nickname.
On Friday, July 30, the streaming platform will also release a docu-series about Duntsch and his crimes.
Dr Death: The Undoctored Story is the first docuseries about Duntsch — who was sentenced to life imprisonment after maiming, harming, or killing 33 patients who came in for complex but routine spinal surgeries in Dallas, Texas in the early 2010s.
Here’s what else you need to know about this medical monster, his victims and how he was brought to justice.
What was Christopher Duntsch’s background?
Duntsch came from a comfortable upbringing, was the eldest of four children and studied medicine at the University of Memphis and the University of Tennessee Health Science Centre.
While he was undoubtedly highly intelligent, he was also suspected of being under the influence of cocaine while operating during his fourth year of residency—an issue that would resurface over the course of his career.
Upon completion of his medical residency at the University of Tennessee, Duntsch had participated in fewer than 100 surgeries instead of the 1,000 operations neurosurgery residents typically perform.
Why did Christopher Duntsch do what he did?
Why does any serial killer or criminal do what they do? It typically comes down to a variety of factors and usually involves ego.
As Joshua Jackson told E! about playing the psychopathic surgeon, Duntsch was a “delusional narcissist” whose version of events is “so far removed from reality as you and I experience it or the evidence of his own life as we come to witness in this show.”
Chillingly (as if his whole story is not traumatising enough) Duntsch wrote an email in December 2011 email in which he said he was “…ready to leave the love and kindness and goodness and patience that I mix with everything else that I am and become a cold-blooded killer.”
Who were Christopher Duntsch’s victims?
Duntsch injured 33 out of 38 patients in two years at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano and Dallas Medical Centre, and was also responsible for the deaths of at least two people.
Some of his victims include:
Lee Passmore: Passmore underwent surgery for chronic pain that radiated from his lower back, down each of his legs. The pain was so severe that he had become addicted to opiate painkillers and sought surgery, against the advice of his pain management specialist, in order to find relief.
During surgery, Duntsch severed a ligament in his leg and inserted a medical screw not only in the wrong place but in a way that it could not be moved. Passmore survived but can no longer feel his feet and has limited mobility.
Kellie Martin: Martin was a 55-year-old woman who went to Duntsch seeking relief from a year of back pain brought on by a bad fall. Duntsch severed one of Martin’s major arteries, yet continued to operate resulting in her bleeding to death on his table.
Floella Brown: Brown went in for a routine cervical fusion, but ended up brain dead after Duntsch damaged her vertebral artery during the procedure. She subsequently suffered a stroke and died.
Mary Efurd: Efurd went to Duntsch for a routine spinal fusion surgery but awoke from the operation barely able to move her legs. She was left paralysed after Duntsch operated on the wrong part of her back, twisted a screw into another nerve, left screw holes on the opposite side of her spine, and left surgical hardware in her soft muscle tissue.
Duntsch was accused of being intoxicated during the surgery.
Jerry Summers: Horrifyingly, Summers was a longtime friend of Duntsch’s and trusted him to operate on two of his neck vertebrae that needed to be fused. He came out of the operation as a quadriplegic and died of an infection related to complications from the botched operation in 2021.
Duntsch was suspected of having used cocaine the night before the operation.
Did Christopher Duntsch have a wife and kids?
Duntsch was in a long-term relationship with Wendy Renee Young, after the pair met at a bar in Memphis when she was 27 and he was 40. At the time of their meeting, Young was working as a dancer in a strip club.
The pair moved in together after just three months of dating and went on to have two children together, sons Aiden and Preston—with the younger boy being born after the pair separated.
Duntsch also had an affair with his assistant, Kimberly Morgan.
Where is Christopher Duntsch now?
Thankfully, he is in prison where he could spend the rest of his life.
Due to the valiant efforts of Drs Robert Henderson, Dr Randall Kirby and Michelle Shughart, Duntsch was arrested in 2015 and charged with six felony counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, five counts of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, and one count of injury to an elderly person.
In 2017, he was sentenced to life behind bars after a jury found him guilty of injury to an elderly person, for maiming Efurd.
Duntsch is currently incarcerated and serving a life sentence in Huntsville, Texas and will not be up for parole until 2045, when he is 74 years old.
Dr Death: The Undoctored Story premieres 30 July, only on Stan. Every episode of the true-crime drama series Dr Death is now streaming.