Government & Law

Dr. Death’s Life Sentence Upheld in Appeals Court

A mugshot of Duntsch (Courtesy of: Dallas County).

Dr. Christopher Duntsch’s life sentence was upheld by the Fifth District Court of Appeals earlier this week, confirming the aggravated assault charges for operations conducted in the operating room, a legal first.

Duntsch was charged with with five counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of injury to an elderly individual, though there are reports about dozens of patients who were left in pain, paralyzed, or dead after he operated on them. The trial focused on just one patient, Mary Efurd, an elderly patient whose back was left mangled after Duntsch was done with her. The surgery had to be corrected by another surgeon.

Prosecutors referenced other botched surgeries in court to show that Duntsch should have known he would be doing damage, and two of the three judges agreed to uphold the sentence. The former surgeon can appeal further, though the Texas Court of Appeals doesn’t have to hear his case.

D Magazine’s own Matt Goodman gave Duntsch the all-too accurate nickname of Dr. Death in his story from 2016 and the subsequent “Dr. Death” podcast from Wondery has gone on to top charts nationwide.

Read more of Matt’s story about the case, trial, and appeal here.


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