Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Murder in the Intensive Care Unit


Dr. Stephen Weitz was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins Medical School. He arrived at Albert Einstein Medical Center in 1972 after doing his residency at The University of Oregon's Portland Medical Center. The respected neurosurgeon with sterling credentials was 38 in 1977.

As soon as Dr. Weitz was told by hematologist Clarence Mersky that a patient of his had died as a result of being administered heparin he expressed "disbelief." He immediately notified the hospital's chief administrator that "we have a problem." Weitz next informed the neurology department chairman, Dr. Kenneth Shulman, M.D. (now deceased) of this "terrible piece of news."

Weitz said he and Shulman were able to identify "three or four" of his craniotomy patients who had been injected with the verboten drug. Both Shulman and Weitz agreed that Weitz would voluntarily and immediately desist from performing any craniotomies since the two doctors determined the drug had been administered to the patients in question, according to Dr. Weitz, "with malice." Also nurses would be posted around the clock to the bedsides of all patients who had undergone craniotomies. The nurses would log all visits to the patients by both health care providers and outside visitors and what occurred during those visits.

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