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British serial killer Harold Shipman, who worked in England as a medical doctor, killed over 200 of his patients before his arrest in 1998.
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Born in England in 1946, serial killer Harold Shipman attended Leeds School of Medicine and began working as a physician in 1970. Between then and his arrest in 1998, he killed at least 215 and possibly as many as 260 of his patients, injecting them with lethal doses of painkillers.
Born the middle child into a working class family on January 14, 1946, Harold Frederick Shipman, known as "Fred", was the favorite child of his domineering mother, Vera. She instilled in him an early sense of superiority that tainted most of his later relationships, leaving him an isolated adolescent with few friends.
When his mother was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, he willingly oversaw her care as she declined, fascinated by the positive effect that the administration of morphine had on her suffering, until she succumbed to the disease on June 21,1963. Devastated by her death, he was determined to go to medical school, and he was admitted to Leeds University medical school for training two years later, having failed his entrance exams first time, before serving his hospital internship.
Still a loner, he met his future wife, Primrose, at the age of 19, and they were married when she was 17, and five months pregnant with their first child.
By 1974 he was a father of two and had joined a medical practice in Todmorden, Yorkshire, where he initially thrived as a family practitioner, before allegedly becoming addicted to the painkiller Pethidine. He forged prescriptions for large amounts of the drug, and he was forced to leave the practice when caught by his medical colleagues in 1975, at which time he entered a drug rehab program. In the subsequent inquiry he received a small fine and a conviction for forgery.
A few years later Shipman was accepted onto the staff at Donneybrook Medical Centre in Hyde, where he ingratiated himself as a hardworking doctor, who enjoyed the trust of patients and colleagues alike, although he had a reputation for arrogance amongst junior staff. He remained on staff there for almost two decades, and his behavior incurred only minor interest from other healthcare professionals.
The local undertaker noticed that Dr. Shipman's patients seemed to be dying at an unusually high rate, and exhibited similar poses in death: most were fully clothed, and usually sitting up or reclining on a settee. He was concerned enough to approach Shipman about this directly, who reassured him that there was nothing to be concerned about. Later, another medical colleague, Dr. Susan Booth, also found the similarity disturbing, and the local coroner's office were alerted, who in turn contacted the police.
A covert investigation followed, but Shipman was cleared, as it appeared that his records were in order. The inquiry failed to contact the General Medical Council, or check criminal records, which would have yielded evidence of Shipman's previous record.
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