Review Article| Volume 26, ISSUE 1, P255-273, March 2006

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Criminal Poisoning: Medical Murderers

      The possibility of homicide occurring at the hands of health care providers is unthinkable to most people. That is particularly true of those of us in the medical profession. Ironically, the failure of health care workers to consider a coworker as a murderer has caused delays in the recognition of those deaths as homicides and subsequently delayed the termination of further murders. There is a paucity of medical literature on this subject. When patient homicide is discovered, individuals and institutions are reticent to document it for fear of damage to their reputations and increased exposure to litigation. Although such events appear to be rare, it is safe to assume that more homicides occur than are known, and many more occur than are reported in the medical literature. In fact, the major source for such information is to be found in books and electronic media about serial killers. As a result, it must be noted that this article often reflects undocumented details of specific incidents. For the health care professional, the purpose of this article is to heighten awareness and to demonstrate that there are definite patterns to the personalities and methods in these events. Six past medical serial killers have been chosen for review to highlight those patterns and methods.
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