15 Scary But True Stories of Doctors Behaving Badly

5 minute read

By Christopher Brown

Though your parents may be the ones to “kiss your boo-boo,” it’s the men and women in scrubs who do the real work. At least, that’s the idea. Unfortunately, some betray that trust. You can learn about medical malpractice with a search online.

You see, doctors are human. Sometimes, they sleep through an alarm, drive away with their coffee mug still sitting on their sunroof and sometimes (but only sometimes) they abuse their power in dangerous, cruel and downright odd ways.

Dr. John Verbovsky

Our first story hails out of Detroit… and it’s a doozy.

Dr. John Verbosky is currently serving jail time for a series of drug-related offenses. First, Verbovsky over-prescribed massive doses of pain medication to two female patients with the aim of getting them addicted. They got addicted. Then he forced them to do a variety of explicit sexual acts in exchange for more prescription refills.

As if that wasn’t enough… he also knowingly filled fraudulent prescriptions to a drug dealer, receiving a cut of the profits in return.

Dr. Allan Zarkin

Zarkin was an Obstetrician working out of a hospital in Manhattan in the ‘90s. He became very close with one of his patients and her family. In hindsight, he probably got a little too close.

The patient went into labor and it became clear that the baby required a Caesarean. Dr. Zarkin performed the procedure and was so proud of his work that he decided to stake his claim. He picked up a scalpel and etched his initials in the patient’s belly, just above the C-section scar. It’s no wonder the media dubbed him Zorro.

Dr. Michael Mockovak

Doctor Michael Mockovak, despite having a name that’s incredibly fun to say, isn’t a very nice person. In fact, he’s a very, very bad person.

He was sentenced to 20 years in prison for soliciting a hitman in a murder for hire plot to kill his long-time friend and business partner Dr. Joseph King. The two built a Laser Eye Surgery empire together called Clearly Lasik in Seattle. Which is ironic, because apparently nobody saw this deadly plot coming (I’m not sorry).

Dr. John Story

This really is as dark as it gets. This one put the town of Lovell, Wyoming on the map for all of the wrong reasons.

Over a span of 25 years, Dr. John Story sexually assaulted countless women, calling the “procedure” he performed a pelvic exam. I’m not going to go in to the details here, but if you’re curious, the tale of Dr. Story’s exploits was made immortal in the 1989 book “Doc: The Rape of the Town of Lovell.”

Dr. James Guiler

This guy must have really, really liked the University of Kentucky.

Back in ’03, 38-year-old Stephanie Means accused Dr. James Guiler of branding the letters of his alma mater (The University of Kentucky) on her Uterus during a hysterectomy. Not long after that, nine more women came forward claiming the exact same thing.

Dr. Frank ‘Felix’ Polk

The story of Dr. Polk ended with Dr. Polk dead and his wife Susan on trial for first degree murder. But the story began a lot earlier, when Susan was 15 and Dr. Polk was still her Psychotherapist. Susan later claimed that back then, the deceased used his authoritative power to manipulate her, control her and have sexual intercourse with her, while she was still a minor.

It’s a very, very long story, but one that I encourage you to read up on if you can find the time.

Dr. Anthony J. Moschetto

Apparently, the phrase “healthy competition” doesn’t mean much to former Long Island cardiologist Anthony J. Moschetto.

Moschetto was looking to one-up a competing cardiologist by going above and beyond. Unfortunately for all involved, going above and beyond meant arson and murder. Moschetto began by torching his competitor’s office. Then, he solicited a man to murder his rival for the modest sum of $20,000. Turns out, the man that he solicited was an undercover cop.

Dr. Farid Fata

This guy is downright evil.

Fata was accused and convicted of fraudulently prescribing painful cancer treatments (including chemotherapy) to patients that didn’t have cancer, and didn’t require any treatments at all. He effectively stole millions of Medicare dollars while killing and seriously injuring a number of unsuspecting patients in the process.

Eventually, the FBI, IRS and the Department of Health and Human Services teamed up to throw this monster in jail for good.

Dr. Christopher Duntsch

The story of Christopher Duntsch is one of gross malpractice. In less than 3 full years, Christopher Duntch’s neurosurgery practice was directly responsible for two deaths and four patients left paralyzed, all as a direct result of a series of botched surgeries. His peers even took to calling him Hannibal Lecter.

The tragedy painted the Texas Medical Board in a pretty awful light, too.

Robert Ray Courtney

I’ll be honest, when I see a pharmacist at work, I’m mystified. You just assume that they know what they’re doing and that their sole purpose is to help get you back to 100 percent. That’s what makes this one particularly scary.

It began in 1990 when Pharmacist Courtney began filling prescriptions with medication bought on the gray market. Then, he started diluting prescriptions to bilk profits. After it was all said and done, Courtney had diluted 98,000 prescriptions in 11 years and had amassed a small fortune by preying on the sick.

Dr. Joseph Stamp

We’ll just file this one under odd. Joseph Stamp was a dentist back in the ‘50s who came up with a brilliant way to make use of all of those human teeth he had hanging around.

You see, when Dr. Stamp was a child, he had a German Shepherd that he loved ever so dearly. He loved that old dog so much that he built a monument in its memory. Can you guess what that monument was made out of? Cement and human teeth.

Dr. Nikita Levy

This perverted scandal cost Johns Hopkins $190 million in damages. Nikita Levy was a practicing gynecologist at the hospital who was busted filming the exams with a hidden pen-like camera.

On final count, the police found 1,200 videos and 140 images stored on his computer. Nikita Levy committed suicide just 10 days after being caught.

Dr. Simon Bramhall

Yet another instance of a physician signing their work. I’ll be honest, I was shocked at how often this has happened.

Like Dr. Allan Zarkin and Dr. James Guiler before him, transplant surgeon Dr. Simon Bramhall got caught marking somebody else’s territory. This time, it was a liver that got initialed. Bramhall got caught when another doctor saw the markings in a follow up appointment.

Dr. Conrad Murray

This is one of the more publicized stories. It might have something to do with his most famous victim.

Yes, Dr. Conrad Murray became a household name when he was implicated and then charged with the death of pop icon Michael Jackson. He had injected the King of Pop with a deadly dose of Propofol. Murray was sentenced to four years in jail following his involuntary manslaughter conviction back in 2009.

Dr. Riza Murat Gurun

Our final story comes out of the Ayr Hospital in Scotland. Dr. Riza Murat Gurun neglected to review a patient’s scans and went on with the procedure anyway. The surgery called for the removal of the patient’s kidney. Dr. Gurun removed a kidney… just not the right one.

The slip-up was discovered in the hospital’s pathology lab. The lab checked the organ and discovered that it was in fact healthy.

Christopher Brown