The Strange Case of Dr. Kappler

The Strange Case of Dr. Kappler

The Doctor Who Became A Killer

Book - 1994
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Baker & Taylor
A chilling portrait of a psychopathic anesthesiologist who, despite multiple psychotic episodes and four attempts to murder patients, was freed on a technicality, and left unhindered by his evaluators to resume medical practice and finally to kill two strangers.

Blackwell North Amer
In 1975, Dr. John Kappler, a Los Angeles anesthesiologist, secretly attempted to kill a pregnant patient by giving her the wrong anesthetic. That same day, he tried to kill two other patients. Driving home, he crashed into two vehicles on the freeway. Doctors from the hospital not only helped bail him out of jail, they allowed him to continue practicing medicine. In 1980, Dr. Kappler again attempted to murder a patient. The patient suffered a cardiac arrest. Yet John Kappler continued to practice. Later, in 1985, when Kappler yet again tried to kill a patient, he was - finally - arrested for attempted murder but subsequently freed because of insufficient evidence. Then, in 1990, Kappler deliberately drove his car into two absolute strangers, killing one and maiming the other.
Kappler claimed insanity at his murder trial, pointing to repeated psychiatric hospitalizations since the 1960s. Voices, he said, commanded him to drive into his victims, just as they had commanded him to kill before. But was Kappler insane or a cunning psychopath?
Here is the harrowing story of an anesthesiologist who, despite bizarre and violent behavior, was allowed to maintain his professional standing and continued to work in dozens of California hospitals. Through his investigations Keith Russell Ablow, a journalist and psychiatrist, brings us face to face with the dark side not only of one doctor, but of the medical establishment itself, which looked the other way as Kappler became more and more dangerous.

& Taylor

Relates the story of a doctor who, despite psychotic episodes and four attempts to murder patients, was able to resume medical practice and later killed two strangers

Publisher: New York : Free Press ; Toronto : Maxwell Macmillan Canada ; New York : Maxwell Macmillan International, 1994.
ISBN: 9780029001615
Branch Call Number: 364.1523 ABL
Characteristics: 215 p., [4] leaves of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.


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