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The Case of Harold Shipman, Serial Killer Doctor
This book, the first of a trilogy, takes the reader into the essentially private world of doctors, each from different backgrounds but all with one common thread running through their lives - they were all English general medical practitioners and they were all put on trial for murder.
This first work is concerned with the case of Dr Harold Shipman, one of the most prolific serial killers in British legal history, and it seeks to answer the most important question of all.
Why a well-respected, popular family GP, and prominent member of his local community, was at the same time killing over 215 of his trusting and mainly elderly patients in what have been described as 'near perfect crimes'.
His early life and medical career are examined to identify a possible 'trigger' to explain his killing obsession, culminating in his eventual arrest and trial. It also considers the numerous failings of those systems which were designed to safeguard patients, yet failed so miserably. It considers the findings of the definitive Shipman Inquiry, which was divided into two distinct parts. The first part examined the individual deaths of Shipman's patients, whilst the second part examined the systems in place that failed to identify his crimes. The Inquiry Team also carried out a separate investigation into all the deaths certified by Shipman during his time as a junior doctor at Pontefract General Infirmary, West Yorkshire.
The Inquiry published a total of six reports. The first concluded that Shipman killed at least 215 patients, the second report found that his last three victims could have been saved if the police investigation had been carried out more efficiently. The third report found that by issuing death certificates stating 'natural causes'.
Shipman was able to evade investigation into deaths by the Coroner. The fourth report called for more stringent controls on the use and issuing of 'controlled' drugs. The fifth report on the regulation and monitoring of GPs, criticised the General Medical Council (the GMC) and recommended an overhaul of its constitution to ensure it was more focused on protecting patients rather than doctors. The sixth and final report, published in 2005, concluded that Shipman had killed in the region of 250 patients.
This work concludes with an assessment of those psychological traits which may provide a final clue to that elusive question: Why?
This title is the first in a series of three books on killer doctors. Search on Amazon for David Holding's books on Dr Buck Ruxton and Dr John Bodkin Adams.
Dr David Holding studied history at Manchester University before entering the teaching profession in the 1970s. He taught in both state and independent sectors. During this time, he continued historical research culminating in both a Master's degree and a Doctorate. Having previously studied law, David gained a Master of Law degree in Medical Law, which enabled him to transfer to teaching legal courses at university. Since retiring, David has concentrated his research and writing on various aspects of local history, legal trials, forensic science and medico-legal topics.
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