Blind Eye: Getting Away with Murder

Graham Shepherd muhero at
Sun Sep 26 07:27:32 EST 1999

This is probably trivial compared to the damage caused by incompetent
or inadequately trained doctors against whom the medical professions
are unwilling to act.


Tom Keske wrote in message ...
>In these times, we have little surprise when we hear of a crazed
>mass killer.  However, we most typically expect these killers to be
>among life's worst losers.  We are not as accustomed to seeing
>intelligent professionals, in positions of authority and trust,
>engaged in such activities.
>This is a psychological barrier that prevents us from investigating
>as seriously as we should, for evidence of foul play, when we
>hear allegations of contaminated vaccines, sparking an epidemic
>of AIDS in black Africans and gay Americans.
>To help beat down that barrier, I will document an indisputable,
>proven case of a trusted doctor doing exactly that: abusing his
>position to murder scores of trusting black Africans,
>most ruthlessly.
>This particular case is not related in any literal way to the
>AIDS epidemic.  However, it is very fitting as a warning lesson
>and a metaphor for larger events that may have taken
>place in Africa.
>The complete story can be read in a new book called
>"Blind Eye: How the Medical Establishment Let a Doctor
>Get Away With Murder."  It is written by the Pulitzer Prize
>winning  James B. Stewart, a former editor of Wall Street
>The book chronicles the life of a self-confessed mass killer,
>Dr. Michael Swango, from medical school at Southern
>Illinois University, to a residency in neurosurgery at
>Ohio State University, to a job as a missionary doctor
>Trouble seemed to follow the blond, clean-cut Dr. Swango
>everywhere.  Patients died suddenly after his visits.
>Hospital administrators and supervising physicians
>had plenty of evidence to suspect something amiss,
>yet they turned a blind eye.  They assumed that the
>sequences of events were mere innocent coincidences,
>merely correlation, not causation.  Perhaps, this was
>not a superior, philosophical wisdom about
>correlation and causation, but merely an indifference
>and an unwillingness to believe something profoundly
>The tally was grim.  In America, Dr. Swango killed about
>15 patients.  In Africa, however, Dr. Swango found his
>most fertile ground, killing as many as 60 patients.
>Paramedics remembered how he once brought a box
>of Honey Maid doughnuts for the crew.  As they
>ate, Dr. Swango's colleagues became violently ill.
>"What did you do, Mike, poison us?" one joked
>at the time.
>Dr. Swango's murders were not "mercy" killings.  What
>might possess a man in such an incomprehensible
>campaign of madness can only be imagined.
>Perhaps it is worth the effort, to try to imagine what
>factors might shape such a man.   From the perspectives
>of the bland, workaday lives of most Americans, it is
>probably difficult to imagine the more extreme
>experiences that sometimes affect persons
>in positions of authority, especially in the
>military and in the intelligence organizations.
>It leads to an unhealthy, blind trust, when it is
>assumed that the psychology of a military
>official or intelligence operative, will
>necessarily be the same as that of the
>average businessman.  It would be wise to
>have a better appreciation of life's warping
>powers, to cause inner disease that does not
>always show so obviously on the surface.
>There is a common thread in Dr. Swango's
>youth that was seen in the recent Colorado
>school killings.  His father was a Vietnam veteran.
>The mental scars of the father apparently passed
>on to the son, in a fascination with violent death.
>Both kept morbid files of newspaper clippings about
>car accidents.
>Sometimes, it is abundantly obvious when veterans
>have psychological scars.  Sometimes, the effects
>of extreme trauma might be lingering less visibly
>under an outward facade of normalcy.
>When a person has been traumatized by experiences
>of routine, extensive killing and butchery all around
>them, it is probably natural to become less sensitive to
>death and killing, less impressed by the burdens of law
>and notions of "responsibility".
>All the more reason to worry about the chances
>for warped minds hidden in the Pentagon or CIA,
>deciding to carry on a covert, private war, to purge
>their country an imagined enemy group.
>It is well known how children who are sexually
>abused, have a stronger tendency to become
>abusers as adults.
>Could it be that persons who suffer other
>types of abuses, such as to have their families
>slaughtered as victims of genocide, also to share
>a tendency to develop the same sickness as their
>former tormentors?
>It is a way for the former, helpless victim,
>to take control.  "Now I am in the driver's
>seat.  I am the one who is hardened, powerful
>and dangerous, so I can be sure that I am no
>longer the victim.  By doing the same to someone
>else, I get revenge for what happened to me"
>Dr. Wolf Smuzness, who headed the experimental
>vaccine trials on gay men in New York, was
>someone sharing this former-victim status.
>His family had been killed.  Could any man
>live through such a thing, and have no psychological
>Such was the case of Henry Kissinger, the cynical,
>supporter of murderous dictators like Augusto Pinochet,
>while under Richard Nixon, and who also had an interest
>for biological warfare.
>In the case of the murderous Dr. Swango, there is no
>doubt what happened: he pled guilty to murder charges.
>The meticulously researched book of a Pulitzer
>Prize winner gives a damning indictment also
>of an arrogant and hermetically sealed medical
>professional, that let a killer in a white coat
>get away literally with unrestrained mass-murder,
>right under their noses.
>Are you one of the readers who might imagine that
>organizations like the Pentagon and CIA would be
>more protected against deranged men like Dr. Swango?
>That their internal screening would detect such
>individuals?  That such madmen could never work
>themselves into high, commanding positions?  Would
>you imagine that because there are many individuals
>working for the same organization, that someone
>would surely notice, blow a whistle, put a stop to
>any outrageous behavior?
>These are the types of innocent delusions that shall
>be the next target for demolition.   Please stay tuned
>for the next chapter, "Real-life Dr. Strangeloves".
>Tom Keske
>Boston, Mass.

More information about the Microbio mailing list