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Two of the most infamous surgeons: The Graduated Butcher and the Imposing Genius
Two of the most infamous surgeons: The Graduated Butcher and the Imposing Genius
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The Graduated Butcher and Imposter Genius: Two of America's Most Infamous Surgeons

There are many charlatans in the world, but it is not difficult to impersonate a therapist in the countryside. But a practicing surgeon, it seems, is impossible at all. After all, you have to cut people! However, high-profile cases with surgeons show that this is not stopping anyone.

Ferdinand Demara: the perfect fit into the role

American Ferdinand Demara, from his youth, suffered from the urge to impersonate a representative of various respected professions. In general, this behavior is considered one of the possible symptoms of narcissistic disorder and ends badly, but Demara's case was unique. He was distinguished not only by the ability to gain confidence and win over people. He also learned quickly, had a wonderful memory and was very intelligent.

At sixteen, he ran away from home, and away we go. He tried to pass himself off as an officer (unsuccessfully), then as a professor of psychology (but this succeeded, and Demara taught psychology in college for some time). He turned out to be a civil engineer, then a deputy sheriff. Either he was in prison for desertion from the navy, then he studied to be a lawyer using forged documents. One day, Demara met a young surgeon, Joseph Sera, and Syra's personality turned out to be so attractive to him that Demara literally appropriated it. Under the name of Joseph Ferdinand got a job as a flight doctor on a Canadian destroyer and ended up off the Korean coast.

For some time the service proceeded calmly. What could not be cured with a remedy for diarrhea was perfectly treated with antibiotics, and Demara, at his discretion, prescribed one or the other. But one day, sixteen wounded soldiers were brought aboard, each of whom needed an urgent operation. Demara gave orders for the preparation of the wounded and the operating room, and he urgently sat down to study a textbook on surgery. And … successfully completed all sixteen operations. Even the most severely wounded survived.

Ferdinand Demara

Almost all American newspapers enthusiastically wrote about the medical feat, and the mother of the real Sira was amazed to learn that her son was supposedly serving off the coast of Korea. She, of course, communicated her vision of the situation to the authorities, and there was a scandal. For a long time, the captain of the destroyer could not believe that an impostor was serving on board, and the authorities, although they fired Demara, did not bring charges against him.

After this high-profile story, Demara still did a lot of good things (which is difficult to expect from an impostor with a thirst for recognition). For example, the college he founded is still working. He also developed and successfully implemented a psychological rehabilitation program for prisoners. He ended his life as a parish priest at the hospital and, they say, he comforted like no one else. He somehow immediately believed …

Christopher Dantch: How Several Surgeons Couldn't Stop a Butcher with a Scalpel

Demara's case is amazing, but in the end he risked operating on people once and when there was no turning back: after all, if you tried to take them to another doctor, some of the patients would die without waiting for help. Not all impostor surgeons are conscientious. In the tenths of the twenty-first century, in an era of endless checks, certifications and the ability to betray everything suspicious to the public, a certain Christopher Dantch performed operations as a neurosurgeon for a very long time. This diploma did not help his patients in any way.

How he managed to unlearn, no one understands. During his residency, Christopher received complaints about drug use just before the shift - he managed to avoid tests.Before graduation, other students managed to participate in a thousand operations (it made no sense less) - Dantch took part in hardly a hundred. After graduation, he joined two Russian researchers who probably needed a co-author with a foreign name - and thus became a co-author of the work on growing table cells of vertebral discs.

His research supervisors later became investors in this essentially Russian project, thanks to Dantch's talent to organize everything, and as a result he could flaunt a beautiful line on his resume. But he was fired from the company itself very soon - because of the habit of drinking vodka at morning work meetings. It was this habit that investors attributed to Christopher's general inadequacy of behavior. They probably also hoped that the dismissal would make him reason, so they did not spread rumors about him in the work environment.

In conversations, Dantch compared himself to God and Einstein and called himself the best spinal surgeon in the country

In the end, it all ended with the fact that he performed thirty-seven operations. Two of them ended in the death of the patient, thirty-three more gave serious complications, such as paralysis of the left half of the body or almost complete destruction of the esophagus. He mistook muscles for tumors and confused surgical instruments, terrifying the doctors who were assisting him. He came to the hospital with excellent recommendations - as it later turned out to be fake - and left when he was actually quietly fired in order to hush up the scandal. Moreover, Dantch's Facebook page was replete with positive reviews. Most likely, they were bought or forged … And many ask the question, how legally could a person who does not know the basic anatomy be able to obtain a medical diploma.

Colleagues of the surgeon talked with superiors, wrote huge reports on the condition of patients with energetic resumes, but Christopher continued to practice until a friend of one of the patients affected by his actions, being a journalist, was able to stir up a big enough scandal. He was able to get Dantch off the staff. But this meant that he could easily get a job in a hospital in another state, and the doctors of several clinics teamed up to try to prevent this. In December 2013, they managed to get Dantch deprived of his medical license. Nevertheless, Christopher was soon detained at the door of the bank in a surgeon's uniform, stained with blood. It is still unclear whose it was. He was eventually sentenced to life in prison in 2017.

Fortunately, not all stories with impostor doctors are so bad. How an impostor doctor saved thousands of children's lives and changed the course of medical science.

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