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
--This text refers to the
From Publishers Weekly
In a harrowing and exhaustively researched account of neglect by the medical profession, a Pulitzer Prize-winning editor and author (Den of Thieves) presents convincing evidence that alleged serial killer Michael Swango injected a minimum of 35 patients with various toxic substances during the 15 years he was a medical student at Southern Illinois University, an intern at Ohio State University Medical Center and a physician at various hospitals in the U.S. and in Africa. In addition, the author makes a strong case that Swango, who has been described by many as charismatic, was responsible for the severe digestive upsets that plagued his colleagues and friends due to poisoned food and drink. Since Swango has never been evaluated by a psychologist, Stewart relies on the work of medical researchers who view serial killers as psychopathic narcissists. The major strength of Stewart's study, however, rests on his expos? of poor medical monitoring practices. For example, when female nursing personnel linked mysterious patient deaths to Swango's injections, male physicians dismissed their suspicions. Swango was finally sent to prison in 1985 after being convicted of poisoning his co-workers while he was employed as a paramedic. After his release, he found work at other teaching hospitals because they were not required to check with the national practitioners' data bank, a self-monitoring mechanism endorsed by the AMA that Stewart considers inadequate. Currently serving time in prison on fraud charges, Swango faces an FBI investigation for murder. Agent, Amanda Urban; 9-city author tour; TV satellite tour. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to the