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'Dr. Death' Sentenced in Texas

Christopher Duntsch to serve life after botched surgeries
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2017 9:12 AM CST
'Dr. Death' Sentenced in Texas
Christopher Duntsch   (Dallas County Jail via AP)

Mary Efurd came out of back surgery in 2012 unable to use her legs and missing a third of her blood. Her Texas neurosurgeon has now been sentenced to life in prison as a result, reports the Dallas Morning News. A jury found Christopher Duntsch, 45, guilty of intentionally causing injury to an elderly person last week before delivering his sentence in a Dallas County court on Monday after an hour of deliberation, per CBS DFW. Though the trial focused on Efurd's case, the jury heard how two patients died after surgery performed by Duntsch. More than 30 others said Duntsch left them with chronic pain, permanent nerve damage, or surgical waste inside their bodies, while one man said he awoke from surgery to find he was paralyzed on one side of his body.

In Efurd's case, a doctor said Duntsch had "done virtually everything wrong," including drilling a screw into her spinal cavity and attaching implants to muscle instead of bone. "It's as egregious as you can imagine," he said. Lawyers for Duntsch—who was stripped of his medical license in 2013, per the Dallas Observer—argued he was "not a skilled surgeon" and "was on his own and doing the best he could." But prosecutors pointed to disturbing emails in which Duntsch referred to himself as "something between god, Einstein, and the antichrist" and said he was "ready to … become a cold-blooded killer," per D Magazine, which nicknamed him "Dr. Death." "He obviously knew at some point that what he was doing was criminal," one prosecutor said. (Read more Texas stories.)

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