ABOUT THIS EPISODE

A year ago a listener of Dirty John emailed Wondery which produced Dirty John with the LA Times, with a tip about a surgeon. He said the surgeon appeared to have a lot in common with John Meehan. This is a story not just about a surgeon and the 33 patients he hurt, but about a system that failed to protect those patients at every possible turn. And It's the same system that supposed to protect you and me today. I hope you help us spread the word because it’s a story that everyone should listen to.

Subscribe to Dr. Death on Apple Podcasts or visit www.wondery.com/drdeath

English
United States

TRANSCRIPT

00:00:00Bravo is turning this story of dirty john into a limited tv series starring connie britton as deborah newell and eric bana as john me han based on the time siri's in this very podcast the script anthology siri's will bring the story to life catch the new siri's coming
00:00:15soon on leon brava I'm laura biel a health reporter from dallas A year ago a listener of dirty john emailed wondering which produced dirty john with the l a times with a tip about a surgeon He said the surgeon christopher dunn tch appeared to have a lot in
00:00:32common with john me han since then i've been investigating the tip and found out that the story goes beyond the surgeon and the thirty three patients that he hurt it's a story about a system that failed to protect those patients at every possible turn and it's the same
00:00:50system that's supposed to protect you and me today you're about to listen to a preview of dr death and while you're listening go subscribe to dr death on apple podcasts or find a link in the episode notes i hope you help us spread the word because it's a
00:01:06story that everyone should listen to No drink A listener note This story contains adult content and language Imagine that you're struggling with back pain for months maybe years No one can tell you what's wrong You live with the pain day after day you feel like your life is
00:01:32out of control and you can't find a way to take it back Then you find a doctor It's A miracle is like got to say about dr dutch is one great man He is the best doctor I think that anybody could ever go to you trust him And
00:01:51if you're having the problems that i had you know give him a call because your fiction We're at our most vulnerable When we go to our doctors We place our trust in the person at the other end of that scalpel We trust the hospital we trust the system
00:02:12Don't forget for more information on any of the outstanding doctors you see on today's show your head to the website and that would be candace best network dot com that patients seem to sing the praises of dr christopher dutch He had glowing reviews on healthgrades and on his
00:02:30facebook page he claimed to be the best spinal surgeon in the state of texas He could fix you so you go ahead with surgery okay we're gonna have you count backwards from ten now Right When you wake up you're in awful pain and you can tell the faces
00:02:56around You are somber You think god what did he do to me It turns out there was another story about dr dench the one you didn't see I couldn't see you don't know this yet but you will never walk again and you are one of the lucky ones
00:03:23From wondering I'm laura biel And this is dr Death This is episode one three days in dallas I've lived and worked in dallas for more than twenty years as a medical journalist although now i write mostly for national magazines I used to work for the dallas morning news
00:03:51I've been in and out of a fair share of the hospitals here we've got a lot of them Dallas medical center sits just outside the northern edge of town it's a community hospital and uninspired brown building Just a few stories tall it's been around under one name or
00:04:09another for decades and it's one of several hospitals in the area where dr robert henderson has worked during his forty year career He's a trim man balding with a short grey beard On july twenty six two thousand twelve Dr henderson was at home when he got a phone
00:04:28call from the administrator of dallas medical center and i was called in the afternoon right around two o'clock they had a patient who just been through surgery and she was not doing well so i was over at that other hospital probably within ninety minutes Dr henderson is highly
00:04:50respected in the dallas medical community he truly loves being a surgeon Well i wanted to be a physician since i was seven years old and then a medical school he quickly realized that he liked fixing people's problems just like that seeing patients diagnosed appropriately seeing patients receiving the
00:05:10proper surgical procedure and then just observing and basking in the pride of having reversed their disease in many cases stopping their pain and actually curing problems and that's what i liked and had two gotten a call before this to come in and correct procedure from a previous surgeon
00:05:36i have over the years that's occurred multiple times but usually it's initiated by the surgeon themselves I mean every surgeon has the potential to get into a situation You can't handle it either it's outside the scope of especially or you just discovered something that wasn't there recognized on
00:05:55the preoperative diagnostics and needs to be taken care of or an accident occurs For most of his career dr henderson has focused exclusively on the back he's even helped develop some of the surgical techniques common to spine surgeries today it wasn't unusual for him to get asked to
00:06:14help with a complicated spinal case but this call this call was different but i had never been called in by the administration to take over the care of a patient When henderson got to dallas medical center the administrator started filling him in on the patient was a woman
00:06:35named mary e furred She'd come in for surgery on her own two feet but after a long day in the operating room should been left in agony Now she could barely move her legs or wiggle your toes thie administrator also told henderson the name of mary effort surgeon
00:06:54I had heard dutch his name previously through kind of the grapevine dr christopher dutch What he heard wasn't good but it was just talk murmurs and doctor's lounge is he hadn't paid that much attention Well i'm i'm putting it together with what i'd heard on the grapevine and
00:07:13of course now i have a deep level of concern in some verification of what i'd heard but dr henderson was also aware he was hearing from someone who might not understand all the nuances of spinal surgery and now i really want to look at the diagnostics look att
00:07:31all the image ing that has been done since her Operation henderson studied the x rays and the notes dr dutch had written step by step before the surgery how he was going to go about it His plan was correct except there was a problem but procedure that he
00:07:50intended to do was not the procedure that he didn't perform so what's going through your mind when you're looking at the x rays and his operative notes and you're reading all of this what are you thinking Well i'm really thinking that some kind of travesty occurred here because
00:08:08he hasn't hm virtually anything that he intended to do or that he described in the operation But the ailing very efford wasn't even the whole story from that day at dallas medical center dr henderson also learned about another woman dr dutch had operated on just the day before
00:08:28who was also in serious condition So serious in fact that she had been taken into intensive care Just a cz dutch was scheduled to begin operating on mary e furred he's doing it What one of these patients they operated on the previous day is dying and needs expert
00:08:49care and he's the only neurosurgeon there and he totally abandons her The other woman the one who was already an intensive care was named flo Ella brown flotilla was sixty four years old She and her husband joe had met and fallen in love In high school joe had
00:09:12retired and flow ella was getting ready to retire to She'd had next surgery once before a few years back the doctors had installed titanium plates but now her neck and left shoulder were hurting She wanted to be pain free before she and joe moved to a house on
00:09:31lake texoma Dr dench was supposed to remove a dis rumor spine and attach hardware to fasten to vertebra together He began the surgery early on the morning of july twenty fourth two thousand twelve a tuesday Most people in the room assumes that everything was going smoothly for the
00:09:56first twenty or thirty minutes Then dr done started to complain that he was having trouble seeing her spine He was saying there's so much blood i can't see Kyle kissinger was one of the nurses in the operating room that morning He'd worked with dr dutch the day before
00:10:15and was already starting to wonder how good a surgeon he wass so he was using one of the scrub text from our hospital and so he just keeps telling her suck more so forget that What other I can't see There was a lot of blood way more than
00:10:31there should have been It was seeping through the blue draping around flow ella's body and dripping onto the floor There was a bucket on the floor for use sponges usually when they're tossed into the bucket there splotchy or slightly pink but not this time I was getting back
00:10:51dark red sponges sponges were soaked through with blood The surgery lasted a long time way longer than it should have when it was done flo ella had lost a lot of blood in the recovery room though she said she felt okay She asked for ice that evening joe
00:11:15came to visit with their son and granddaughter joe was worried Something about his wife didn't seem right He would later describe arras fidgety When he came back at around five thirty the next morning her condition had deteriorated Well His body was convulsing Joe dashed to the front desk
00:11:37and told the nurses she needed help A half hour later flo ella brown lost consciousness When kyle kissinger arrived for work another nurse told me hey you know did you hear what's going on with the patient from yesterday kissinger asked if dr dutch had been to see her
00:11:57I'm like well have you called him are you No no she just says we're unable to get ahold of him so which is concerning in fact dr dench was nowhere to be found That was just a preview of dr death To hear the rest of this episode and
00:12:15not miss what happens next subscribed to dr Death on apple podcasts wherever you listen to podcasts or find a link in the episode notes

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