The True Story Behind Peacock’s Series ‘Dr. Death’ Is Chilling: Learn All About Christopher Duntsch

the-true-story-behind-peacock’s-series-‘dr.-death’-is-chilling:-learn-all-about-christopher-duntsch

Christopher Duntsch is the subject of a chilling new series on Peacock, fittingly titled after his nickname, Dr. Death. The Texas-based surgeon (portrayed by actor Joshua Jackson) was sentenced to life in prison in 2017 after maiming and injuring the nearly 40 patients he operated on between 2011 and 2013. Learn all about his horrific malpractice and what led to his incarceration, below.  

Who Is Dr. Death?

Duntsch used to be a neurosurgeon and he worked in Dallas, Texas, during the prime of his medical career. After several patients suffered life-altering injuries in his operating room, an investigation was launched into his practices.  

Dr. Death

AP/Shutterstock

“Some people woke up paralyzed; others emerged from anesthesia to permanent pain from nerve damage. Two patients died, one from significant blood loss after the operation and the other from a stroke caused by a cut vertebral artery,” Time Magazine pointed out, which resulted in Duntsch’s medical license being revoked in 2013.

In July 2015, Duntsch was arrested 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, Mary Erfund. Her case was the only count that went to trial. 

What Happened at His Trial?

In 2018, the Fifth District Court of Appeals upheld the life sentence Duntsch received the year prior after being found guilty of injury to an elderly person. The prosecution argued that, in Duntsch’s hands, surgical tools became “deadly weapons.” 

“Finally, justice has been done after four and a half years. And I hope I’m speaking for all the other families and their loved ones also,” Erfund said after the guilty verdict resulted in his life imprisonment. “You know, when they finally got his license suspended, I cried for two days. It was just relief that didn’t stop.” 

Duntsch is now being held in the Texas Department of Corrections and his possible parole hearing is listed as July 20, 2045.

Dr. Death Cast

Jim Ruymen/UPI/Shutterstock

What Was Joshua Jackson’s Thoughts on Portraying Dr. Death?

The Dawson’s Creek alum revealed he listened to the Wondery podcast “Dr. Death” before tapping into his role. “I found myself not only being creeped out and horrified by what I was hearing,” Jackson told E! News, adding, “but I found myself wanting to know why. How did this happen? How did this man come to be? How did he keep on doing these awful things? Who the hell was he?”


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