9780684865638 / 0684865637

Blind Eye: The Terrifying Story of a Doctor Who Got Away With Murder


Publisher:Simon & Schuster Paperbacks



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About the book:

From the moment he entered medical school in the late 1970s, people around Michael Swango thought he was a little odd. But even though he expounded upon his obsessions with violent death and serial killings to anybody within earshot, almost nobody connected him to the string of deaths among patients under his care. When an investigation finally took place at the Ohio State medical center, hospital administrators sympathized with Swango--against the direct testimony of patients and nurses--and seemed more concerned with how revelations of a murderous doctor might affect their public image than with the safety of their clients. And, remarkably, even after being released from prison in Illinois, where he had been convicted of (nonfatally) poisoning several of his coworkers, Swango was able to obtain positions at hospitals in South Dakota and New York. When American authorities finally started to pursue his case, he fled the country and began plying his trade in Zimbabwe. In June 1998, after being captured during an attempt to reenter the United States, he was sentenced to 42 months in federal prison--on fraud charges related to his employment in New York.

The truly frightening aspect of Blind Eye is not the relentless chain of murders, but the ease with which Swango was able to repeatedly slip through the cracks in the medical system, simply by lying about the nature of his felony conviction. James B. Stewart methodically traces every step of Swango's career, laying out a straightforward narrative with all the suspense of a well-crafted thriller. Although attempts to "explain" Swango's behavior through psychopathology and a historical rise in the incidences of serial killing derail the ending somewhat, Blind Eye is still a must-read for true crime buffs--or anyone who enjoys good journalism. --Ron Hogan

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