Podcast of the Week: Dr. Death

Trust me… I’m a doctor.

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Podcasts are brilliant for loads of different stuff. Niche musical tastes? There’s a podcast for that. Deep dives into the darkest depths of geek culture? There is definitely a podcast for that. Football? Comedy? Hip-hop? Someone’s dad writing porn novels? No matter what you’re into, there is normally a podcast that has got you covered. One area in which podcasts truly thrive however is true crime. Whilst TV shows like Making a Murderer and The Staircase have facilitated a meteoric rise in the popularity of the true crime genre, it could be argued that it was the success of podcasts such as Serial and S-Town that really set the ball rolling.

Alas, there has been a bit of a void in the world of true crime podcasts since Dirty John ended. The success of the brutal true crime podcast parody A Very Fatal Murder has perhaps prompted a change of tact from the various podcast networks churning out these lurid tales of murder and mayhem.

There are some beacons of hope on the black horizon of true crime podcasts however, not least with the impending return of Serial, and, elsewhere, Dr. Death is one of the best currently on the market.

Dr. Christopher Duntsch was an accomplished and ambitious neurosurgeon who claimed to have pioneered a unique and successful method of correcting spine injuries. However, between the anesthetic kicking in and the patient waking up again, something went badly wrong, and not just with one patient…

Dr. Death works for two reasons. One because the story of Dr. Duntsch is scandalous enough and compelling enough to keep the listener coming back for more. The details of his botched operations are reported in grisly detail and the interviews with former patients are often grueling. The second reason that Dr. Death has captured the imagination of the podcast world is that host Laura Beil has ensured that it also works as a commentary on the American health service and the myriad examples of malpractice that define it.

Dr. Death isn’t a pleasant listen but it is an irresistible one. You’ve read the review; I would suggest downloading the podcast. The doctor will see you now…

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