America’s Contribution to Medical Mayhem
The history of Americans (and colonists) that have been convicted of serial murder is about 350 years old, a mere trifle when compared with that of some other nations. The Vain Prodigal Life and Tragical Penitent Death of Thomas Hellier, a book published in London in 1680, reported the crimes of Hellier, a bonded servant in the Virginia colony, who was hanged for the murder of “his master, mistress, and a maid.” He was apparently the first American “domestic killer.” Until the late 1800s, murders by American physicians were practically unknown, either because the perpetrators were too good at concealing their crimes, the index of suspicion was too low, or the expectation to die under medical treatment too high. However, the 1900s and early 2000s showed a significant increase in their number. American serial killer physicians are very similar to medical deviants throughout the world and share similar motivations. Not to seem un-American, but our serial murderers aren’t bigger, stronger, smarter or faster than killers from anywhere else. This is not to say our physicians have been slouches when it comes to homicide—far from it. Consider the following examples.