Irrespective of wherever one resides, there is always a latent fear before one goes under the knife. We trust the surgeon. We trust the hospital. And we trust the system. But what if still, something goes wrong? Because one is most vulnerable on the operation table and has no other option but to, almost blindly, trust the selected surgeon.
Imagine a scenario when something goes terribly wrong with the surgery. Most of us are medical laymen, who do not understand the nitty-gritty of complex medical procedures. In such a situation, would we or our caretakers ever be able to ascertain whether the cause of an adverse medical procedure could have possibly been intentional? It’s apparently impossible and outright absurd, right?
An upcoming television series titled ‘Dr. Death’, whose spine-chilling trailer was recently revealed, suggests just the opposite. Based on Wondery’s gruesome podcast of the same name, ‘Dr. Death’ follows the appalling true story of an extreme case of medical malpractice.
Based on the podcast, the series apparently delves into the twisted mind of a charismatic and ostensibly brilliant Texas neurosurgeon Dr. Christopher Duntsch (played by ‘Fringe’ actor Joshua Jackson). Trouble ensues when the patients operated upon by him are left either permanently maimed or dead. Consequently, two fellow surgeons (played by Alec Baldwin and Christian Slater) with Dallas prosecutor (played by AnnaSophia Robb) make it their mission to stop Dr. Death, who grossly misuses a flawed system meant for protecting us during our most vulnerable times.
At the end of the trailer, Alec Baldwin’s character says, “He is either the most incompetent surgeon I have ever crossed paths with, or he is a sociopath”. The dialogue efficiently articulates the show’s underlying premise and the character’s motivations.
Owing to thematic similarities, it is relevant to mention here the 2013 Indian film ‘Ankur Arora Murder Case’. The film followed the story of medical negligence by a reputed surgeon (played by Kay Kay Menon). When an intern doctor (Arjun Mathur) finds out about the death of an 8-year-old boy due to the surgeon’s negligence, he helps the mother (Tisca Chopra) fight a legal battle to bring the culprit to justice.
Moreover, some time back, it was reported by several Indian publications that an Ayurvedic doctor was arrested by Delhi Police for jumping parole. The doctor called as ‘Dr. Death’, had been jailed for life for reportedly murdering truck drivers and later disposing of the bodies in a crocodile-infested canal. He was suspected by the police for the murder of more than 50 drivers in the early 2000s. The chilling account of the modus operandi of the serial killer had sent shockwaves through the entire nation.
These kinds of stories namely the case of the Texas neurosurgeon and the Indian Ayurvedic doctor (both given the pseudonym ‘Dr. Death’), although far from being entertaining, nevertheless, should be told and be seen by global audiences. Just to be aware of the ubiquitous psychology of these dreaded criminals, and the lengths they can go to achieve their sinister motives.
And we think that Netflix is a competent vehicle to execute a show about India’s own Dr. Death, despite its thematic dissimilarities to the Texas doctor. The audiences need to watch realistic, well-executed and hard-hitting content, to better understand what goes into the making of real-life criminals and how they are painstakingly caught by the authorities. The streaming platform has done it before with its critically acclaimed, International Emmy Award-winning show ‘Delhi Crime’. Besides, Netflix is also home to another chilling psychological true-crime thriller show ‘Mindhunter’ (helmed by David Fincher).
Dr. Christopher Duntsch’s series ‘Dr. Death’ is expected to start streaming this summer on the American OTT platform Peacock. In the meanwhile, you can watch the first season of Wondery’s podcast to know more about the case (attached below). You can also watch the recently released hair-raising trailer of the upcoming television series ‘Dr. Death’ below.
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