Dr. Death (2021) s01e06 Episode Script

Occam's Razor


[GROANS] I can't move.
Why can't I move?
Where's Chris?
- Try to relax.
- Where's Chris
- Doctor's going to come in
- Duntsch? He's my doctor.
take a look and see what's going on.
Nothing's going on. I can't
Nothing works.

I can't feel shit.

And move your shoulders.
Shrug up
and down.
That's it.
Some mobility. That's a good sign.
Fuck some mobility. I want it all.
Jesus Christ!
do you remember me?
I'm Dr. Ivers.
I was the anesthesiologist in your case.
- What's happening to me, Doc?
- We're not sure.
I'm here to ascertain whether
your partial paralysis
is being caused by the anesthesia.
Dr. Ivers
I need Chris
Duntsch my doctor.
Please, call his ass.
Page his ass. Hunt his ass down.


Excuse me?
Excuse me? Where are you taking me?
Where are you taking me?
Dr. Rosario ordered some images.
Who the fuck is Dr. Rosario?
Worst part's over.
Now, remember to lay very still,
or else we'll have to
start all over again.


Hi, there, my name is Michelle Shughart.
I'm the Assistant District Attorney
overseeing the Christopher Duntsch case.
Uh-uh. We don't want
to have nothing to do
- with that asshole.
- I just need a few minutes of your time
Our family has been through enough.
Yes, ma'am.
It feels like there's an
ice pick in my back.
He always talked about being the best.
My experience you got to
preach it, probably isn't true.
But I didn't feel that way
about him. I liked him.
We tried.
No lawyer would take up the case
'cause of the reform
down there in Austin.
Tort reform. House Bill 4.
I can't believe that I voted
for that dipshit Rick Perry.
I can't even bring a malpractice claim.
Well, I mean, I suppose I could,
but no matter what happens
no matter what somebody does
to you or the people you love,
all you're gonna get is $250,000.
Now, what's the lawyer's cut of that?
Not a whole heck of a lot.
Who wants to get all tied up and twisted
for "not a whole heck of a lot"?
Meanwhile, Slick Rick and his cohorts
and his lobbyists line their
war chests with donations
from insurance companies
and hospitals
like Baylor.
My husband made me go to Duntsch.
He wanted me to be able
to get back to work
and help more with the
kids, but now he's gone,
and I'm alone and worse
than I was before.

I looked into the operating
lights, said a prayer
"Protect me from all
danger. Keep me safe."

He spun a good tale.
For every one of his victims
I've spoken to too many of them
and he made them all feel
comfortable until it was over.
You want my help, hmm?
If you can testify
it'll go a long way to
putting him in prison.
Will it make me whole again?
But it could bring justice.
I'm too old to go looking for justice.
I'd settle for a peaceful heart.

So you want murder?
How are we going to prove intent?
He killed two people.
Any good defense lawyer
would bar other victims from testifying.
With no other victims, we
have no pattern of behavior.
It's just a medical misadventure.
What about manslaughter?
Second-degree felony. Carries 2 to 20.
And since this is a doctor,
I'm taking the under, at best.
I mean, honestly, Steph,
if you heard these people
their stories,
saw what he did to them
and they have no recourse.
Can't sue anybody.
The state of Texas took
that option away from them.
I feel bad.
About what?
I want Duntsch to die in jail.
You know you're a prosecutor?
Dying in jail is an oft-pursued
avenue of justice.

I don't know.
Let's focus on aggravated assault.
Jury might buy he purposely
caused serious bodily harm.
How could they not?
Well, "purposely" is the
keyword there, Steph.
- Hi, there, Dr. Henderson.
It's Paul Racconti with "Dr. Phil."
I heard about your involvement
in the Dr. Duntsch story
- down there in Texas
Dr. Henderson, my name's Liz Geller.
I'm with "The New York Times."
We're planning on doing a piece
on Dr. Christopher Duntsch
- Hi, Dr. Henderson,
this is Maya Comici of The Blaze.
Please call me back at your
earliest convenience at
What is The Blaze?
Yeah, I thought about looking it up,
but then I decided life is too short.
And incredibly irritating.
You could have your 14 minutes of fame.
Now, there was a story I
thought you'd find interesting.
A journalist in town did a piece,
and Duntsch commented on it.
In the comments section, Bob.
It's a bunch of rambling nonsense
about how this is all a witch
hunt, a scam, a hoax.
He says he can't wait to get
back and clear his name,
"My patients need me."
Are you commenting back?
I am now.
"Dear Dr. Death" [CHUCKLES]
"I wish you knew how satisfying it felt
"to rip your medical license
"out of your grubby
paws this past summer.
"I sleep better at night
"knowing you'll never practice in Dallas
or the state of Texas again."
You're gloating.
Don't complicate Michelle's case.
And you shouldn't be out
there harassing the defendant.
Gloating feels so good.
Heavenly Father, we thank You
for blessing us with this meal
and for our health.
We thank You for this opportunity
to break bread with our son.
Thank You for leading him home.
And we pray, with Your wisdom,
that You will guide
him back to the light.
You know, Dad, this is only temporary.
I mean
I'm sure it's awkward
having me in your home.
If it were up to me, all my
boys would be under one roof.
Well, look, I'll be gone soon.
I'm planning on heading back to Dallas.
I'm gonna start practicing
just as soon as this bullshit
with the Medical Board is cleared up.
I'm gonna have my medical
license back before you know it.
What about your son and your girlfriend?
Do they factor into your plans?
Well, yeah. I mean, of course, they do.
You know, I-I've got,
uh, visitation with Mason
once a month, and
it does piss me off that I have to spend
all this money flying back and forth
and pay her child support,
but, you know,
once things are back to normal,
money won't matter.
This is an attempt to collect an
outstanding debt, Mr. Duntsch.
Give us a call back, as your American
Express card is in danger
- This is Bank of America.
Concerning your loan payment
- Chris, you keep ignoring my calls,
I'm gonna have to sue. Call me.
Stay out of my business.
Your business keeps coming to me, Chris.
Why can't you just support me?
All I do is support you
and your family.
Now, this is simple
if you're gonna stay here,
you will do as you're told.
You're gonna declare bankruptcy.
I can't have these pe
I will not have these people
coming after your mother and me.
Just wipe the slate clean, Chris.
You start over
not just for you, but for your son.
You'll still have a chance
at a future if

I know normally people mail these in,
but I always like to
give a personal touch.
You're certainly taking the initiative.
- Carpal tunnel?
- [SIGHS] All the typing.
Do you mind if I take this off?
If you approve my medical license,
with my stem cell research,
we'd be able to relieve the
pain on the median nerve
[SNAPS FINGERS] eradicate the problem.
Free up all those little nerves,
and your pain'd be gone.
- Wow.
- Wow's right.
And just like those nerves,
I believe that we are all connected
to a greater purpose.
And I'm really hoping that you
can help me achieve mine.
well, you got my vote.
Not sure it'll help much,
but I'll be sure to put your application
at the top of my supervisor's pile.


I hear you're having
some muscle weakness
- in your extremities.
Where you been, Dump Face?
I had an L4-L5 lumbar
procedure right after yours.
Look, Jerry, once you're out of my OR,
your case and care are transferred
to other hospital staff.
It wouldn't be appropriate for
me to leave another patient
to come see you.
Well, they really sucked
at taking over my care.
But fuck it. You're here now.
What's going on with me, man?
The anesthesiologist administered
an incorrect dosage.
This led to swelling in your spinal cord
and the quadriplegia,
but you give it a week,
a course of steroids,
you'll be better than
before, as promised.
Okay, Chrissy.
You say it's temporary
I'll believe you.
- I'll chill out.
- Good.
Hey, Chrissy

Why did you tell him that?
It's clear from the images that
The swelling is not going
down I am aware.
We need to alleviate the
pressure on his spine.
I want you to prep an OR.
We're going back in
posterior this time.
Are you going to tell him?
No. He'll just freak out
more than he already is.
But he needs to sign the consent forms.
I spoke to his grandma. She signed off.
Are you sure you want to do this?
Maybe Dr. O'Connor could
take over the case?

- We were doing eight balls.
- Excuse me?
Christopher Duntsch and me
You hear me?
All night long.
The night before my surgery
we were blowing coke all night long.
Chris Duntsch and me.
All fucking night!
Amy, seriously?
Given the seriousness of what
he's claiming, I have to ask.
Well, now you have, and it's ridiculous.
I mean, maybe he was. I don't know.
Honestly, I think he's suffering
from ICU psychosis.
His nurse told me that he hasn't slept
since the night of the second surgery.
That would make anybody
crazy and hallucinate.
He just needs to sleep.
He's hallucinating that
you did cocaine together
the night before surgery?
Well, I-I don't have
another explanation.
I d I don't know what Mr.
Summers is talking about.
I have an OR to grace
Please sit back down, Dr. Duntsch.
In light of the poor surgical outcomes
- of Mr. Summers surgeries
- Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.
Whatever poor surgical outcomes,
while unfortunate, they're not my fault.
Mr. Summers should've had
that surgery done years ago.
Our internal investigation
will hopefully confirm that.
In the meantime, Baylor is
suspending your privileges.
This is bullshit!
You'll have to undergo
a psych evaluation
with Baylor's board psychiatrist,
and both of you will have
to take a drug test.
Give me the cup. I'll do it right now.
This is totally and completely baseless!

I mean, yes, of course, so will I.
I mean, if that's what we got to do,
that's what we got to do.
I'm sorry, Chrissy.
I didn't know what to do.

I feel like I ain't getting the truth.
after my first surgery
I could move a little
but now I can't move at all.
So what the fuck's going on?
Am I gonna be able to walk again?
I mean
"swelling and steroids,
and I'll feel better than I did before"?

How do I know you're not lying to me?

Don't you have anything
to say about all this?

You ruined everything for me.

Good luck.

No. I-I'm I'm driving around
looking for the lab right now
I can't find it anywhere.
No, I'm standing outside right now.
They're telling me they're closed.
[STAMMERS] Of course I
know they close at 4:30.
They're just saying there's
not enough time today.
Yeah, Preston Road
I'm on it now. [SNIFFS]
What's that?
It's traffic.
You're not going to believe
this, but I forgot my ID.
They won't let me take it.
Yes, of course,
absolutely loud and clear.
I will be there first
thing Monday morning.
Okay, thank you.
[SIGHS] Monday, Monday, Monday, Monday.


Fucking pathetic.
I warned you no drugs
around Mason, ever.
- He was napping.
I told you, I got this
all under control.
Was all this part of
your big Dallas plans?
- What?
- Wind up a junkie
- You can't take Mason.
- without a job?
I got a job!
- This isn't right!
- No, it isn't right.
But you know who is right?
Your dad, about you.
Mason and I do deserve better.


I have a relationship with Dr. O'Connor.
I talked to him.
He wants to take over your case
see if he can help make this
as normal as possible for you.
I know it won't ever be the same, Jerry.
We're here to help.
I'm here to help.
Kill me.
I can't.
Get the fuck out.
I'd like to start our time together
by offering my condolences.
Your friend, Jerry.
We went to the same high school.
Well, at any rate,
you surgeons have so much
pressure on you to perform.
Drugs and alcohol can become a crutch.
I drink as much as the next person.
Glass of Malbec here, Glenlivet there.
Never within 12 hours of operating.
These allegations against
me are completely baseless.
And what about drugs?
I mean, sure.
I have tried cocaine back in college.
It wasn't for me.
What about Summers's surgery?
I understand you're just doing your job.
They told you I needed a psych eval.
I was just doing my job, too,
to the best of my ability,
which is pretty goddamn good.
Do you regret the outcome?
Of course I do. I'm human.
But you have to get back on the horse.
I just need to get back on the horse.
You don't feel the
need to take time off?
I already have, too much.
I'm talking about personal time
not ordered by the administration.
I read somewhere once
that if, from time to
time, you don't have
negative surgical outcomes
in your practice,
you're not operating.
My patients mean everything to me,
and the longer I'm here on this couch,
the longer they're out
there in crippling pain.
Okay, I hear you.
[INHALES DEEPLY] I'll let Piel know
I've determined you're fine to operate.
Thank you for your time, Dr. Roman.
Let me know if you ever need anything
ever need to talk.

You know, there is something
I've been having trouble with lately.
- What kind of trouble?
- Ah, with
concentration, since the suspension.
- Ever during surgery?
- No, no, no, no, never.
I was just wondering
if maybe you could
just give me something to bridge the gap
between suspension and surgery.

All right. There's that.
I remembered this time.
Thank you.
Um, hey, I'm taking Ritalin
prescribed by my doctor.
I just want to make sure it's not
going to cause a positive test.
Dr. Roman already called,
told us all about it.

I'm not after you.
So he first shows up here in Dallas
with a job at the Minimally
Invasive Spine Institute?
MISI. Yes.
But he wasn't there for very long.
- Do you know why?
- Baylor recruited him, hard.
Neurosurgeons make big bucks.
What about drugs?
You ever witness any of that?
I flushed it.
Was it cocaine?
I don't know.
What were you doing in his
bathroom late at night?
What are you getting at?
The defense will ask you, too
under oath.
Briefly, and I ended it.
- May I ask why?
- What's next?
Jerry Summers
his surgery.
Any truth to those
eight ball allegations?
I don't know.
Did Jerry do drugs the night before?
I couldn't know. I don't live there.
Is there anything that you can think of
that would point to how
all of this happened?

He sent me an email.
But I want to be clear here.
I didn't think a damn thing of it.
Duntsch was always spouting,
nonsensical bullshit.
May I see it?
The email?

I didn't second-guess the email
until after Jerry's surgery.
Duntsch refused to see him.
He was so
He was so dismissive of him
of his fear and his pain.

And then Shelley Brennan comes in.

And she's dead.
20 minutes into her surgery, she's dead.

And I start thinking
about that email.
What were you thinking?
Was he

Was he doing it on purpose?

Like banging your head on a cupboard
- Mm.
- Or grabbing a hot pot.
One little missed step.
Didn't even fall,
just slipped a little bit off the ladder
hanging Christmas lights.
Work's been near impossible ever since.
I'm an elementary-school teacher.
- The kids keep me on my feet.
Surgery is a big decision, Mrs. Brennan.
I hear you. PT, steroids,
none of it worked.
Surgery seems all that's left.
Going on a cruise with my husband,
another couple.
- That right?
- Yeah, Antigua
in a couple months.
I haven't been on a vacation in
I don't know
whoo, a long time. [CHUCKLES]
How did you hear about Dr. Duntsch?
He came recommended by
my family doctor highly.
I checked all his reviews online.
Everyone loves him.
Are you sure you don't
want to find a doctor
closer to where you live?
[KNOCKS AT DOOR] Mrs. Brennan.
You're the man who's gonna
make everything better.
Dr. Duntsch.
I've been speaking with your GP
- about this spine of yours.
- Mm-hmm.
It sounds like we need to
relieve some pressure
on that nerve right here.
[CHUCKLES] But it's a simple micro lami.
We should have you in
and out in 20 minutes.
- 20?
- Yeah.
It takes longer to boil a pot
of pasta at a high altitude.
What's the schedule looking like?
Um, I'm not sure, Dr. Duntsch.
Did Baylor clear some of their
operating rooms for our use?
Why don't you give them
a call and find out?
We'll get you in first available.
- Do you have a drug
and alcohol problem, sir?
No, sir, never have.
We caught up with Dr.
Duntsch outside Denver
where he now lives.
I talked to a doctor
who said you're a
sociopath and a killer.
Do you have a response?
Yeah, I'm gonna deal with that
in the context of libel later
when I'm defending myself.
His patients all say there's
a more fitting punishment.
Ms. Shughart, this is amazing.
You know, I may have
bitten off a mouthful.
- We get it.
- How can we help?
I need to prove that Duntsch
assaulted these people,
that he should've known what
he was doing to his patients.
- Mm-hmm.
- The only way to do that
is to differentiate between
a normal medical procedure
and what he did.
And the only way to do
that is to be able to teach
a stripped-down version of
neurosurgery to the jury.
I need you to teach me neurosurgery.
"Pain is the most common reason
patients seek medical care.
"Pain has sensory and
emotional components
"and is often classified
as acute or chronic.
Acute pain is frequently
associated with anxiety,"
and that's how my mother
slept with my father.
Uh-oh, Bob, looks like
we've lost the class.
No, no, no. Um, maybe. Yes.
Well, maybe you're more
experiential learners, huh?
All right, you. Come on up here,
lose the shirt, and bend over the table.
I'm a doctor. You are all lawyers.
Come on. [CLAPS HANDS]
Okay, pay attention.
Here we have the prominent vertebra
in the lower neck, the C7.
Okay, I'm just going to
mark it out here C7.
No, no, no. Doctor,
Doctor, Doctor, Doctor.
You're marking it too big
because it's going to
overlap with the T1.
How am I supposed to see that
if I'm not actually inside of his body?
Well, if you don't operate
as fast as you talk
Eh, Randall Kirby is the
preeminent surgeon
I'm calling it. Time
of death is right now.
Uh, let's try again tomorrow?
Anybody want to grab a bite?
There's a neat little
place around the corner
with an early-bird special.
You are nothing if not consistent.
Short rib sliders, $3.
Why don't you throw your AARP card down
and maybe you can get it for $2.75.
Well, that's not exactly
how it works, but
Let's hop on your Rascal and find out.
- Elder abuse.
- Thank you.
- He's not that old.
- No, no.
Madeline Beyer's over 65 years old.
She qualifies.
Injury to an elderly person or a minor.
With that charge, there's no limit
to the scope of the complaint.
We can introduce all of our victims,
even the ones outside our jurisdiction.
Show intent,
and the maximum sentence
is life in prison.
Shit. She doesn't want to testify.
Why don't you let me talk to her?
We may need a lighter touch, Dr. Kirby.
No no offense

No, we had an agreement.
We said once a month.
- This would be twice a month.
- Wendy, please.
No, fly away.
- No.
- Hey! [GRUNTS]
- Hi.
- Hey, buddy.
- I brought you something.
- Thanks.
That's for you.
Hey, what is with this
little dinky ball?
We got to get you a regulation ball
if you're ever going to
play for the Broncos.
Okay, I'm calling the
cops for trespassing
- and kidnapping.
- He's my son, too, Wendy,
and I pay for this apartment.
No, your dad pays for this place.
Get the fuck out of here, fat boy.
Ow. Shit. Who the fuck is Ow!
Stop it! Both of you!
Shawn! Shawn, stop! Shawn, stop!
Stop, Shawn!


Dad, I need help. I was I was robbed.
I need some I need
you to send me money.
I was robbed. I need some help, please.
Please, just send me
some money, to Dallas.
Please, Dad.

- I sent you money, Chris.
- I'm not in the mood, Dad.
- You asked me, and I sent you money.
- I know.
Shoplifting? Shoplifting.
First, it was a DUI, and
now it's shoplifting.
- I told you I'd pay you back.
- How are you going to do that?
You gonna borrow some more money from me
to pay me back the money you owe me?
- It's Wendy.
- It's not.
- It is.
- Stop it, Chris.
It's Wendy.
You know, you keep playing to the edges,
and you wonder why you're falling off.
- She won't let me see Mason.
- Well, good for her.
You deserve what you get.
Texas is never gonna
reinstate my medical license.
Well, maybe that's a good thing.
Nobody'll even hire me to do research.
After everything I've done,
everything I've achieved
I got nothing left.
It's not nothing, Chris.
It's just going to be different.
Nobody robbed me
in Dallas last year.
I lied to you.
Luke 15, verses 3 through 7.
"The shepherd that left his flock
to find the one lost sheep."
I doubt the sheep got
beaten with a plastic bat
by a meth-head shepherd, but all right.
I know it's not going to be easy, Chris,
but go back to Dallas with a pure heart
and make things right with Wendy.
The first step to atonement,
and the hardest, is confession.
And you've already taken it.
It's nice to see that you're
back out in your garden.
I had to hire someone to help,
and they're trying their best. But
- If you want it done right
Ms. Shughart sent you?
She's young.
But no one else would help
us until she came along.
I'm gonna cross a line here,
but I'm asking you to testify.
I consider myself a fairly
intelligent person,
a decent doctor.
I can open and fix and
close a living being.
And I can't get my brain around the case
that Ms. Shughart is building.
But I do know this
without you, there's a chance
that Duntsch may walk away
with just a slap on the wrist.
[INHALES DEEPLY] You're asking me
to relive something
I'd much rather forget.
I don't see how you can do that.
You live with the reality of
this wheelchair every day.
Duntsch belongs in prison
for the rest of his life.
Now, I came in too late to save you.
I can't give you anything back.
But your testimony will ensure
that Duntsch never does this
to another patient ever again.
- What would I have to say?
- The truth.
Just tell your truth, and
everything will be okay.
You're old enough to
know truth in our world
rarely works out for the teller.
What choice do we have?
Morning, fellas.
You're on my to-do list.
We got eyes on Florence
Nightingale's motel.
- Booked to be here in 72 hours.
- Great. Thanks.
Duntsch's trips are getting
a little few and far between.
If he ever stops coming,
Denver police are slow as fuck
when it comes to extradition.
I'm on it. Trying to slip into an
already convened grand jury.
We've got one chance
to get this indictment.
You know, I can't believe
this is for a doctor.
You should arrest my
elementary-school nurse.
She diagnosed me with measles.
I had the chicken pox.
I'll see you back at the office.
Did we win?
It's gonna be a few hours.
Well, we cleared our schedules.
- Thank you.
- I had a tee time.
I booked it months ago.
Thank you.

Thank you.

When the gods wish to punish us,
they answer our prayers.
What does that mean?
- She got the indictment.


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