Feel better about your healthcare provider – the number of serial killers is down!


I do not like thee, Doctor Fell,
The reason why – I cannot tell;
But this I know, and know full well,
I do not like thee, Doctor Fell.

The number of serial killings committed by healthcare providers has leveled off in the U.S. in recent decades, although it is rising internationally, Eindra Khin Khin, MD, said here at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.

According to the literature, the number of cases of healthcare serial killings overall rose from 10 in the 1970s to 21 in the 1980s, 23 in the 1990s, and then to 40 in the years 2000 to 2006, said Khin Khin, who along with her colleagues presented a poster on the topic.

One reason the rates of healthcare serial murders are rising internationally, but not in the U.S., is electronic medical records (EMR), Khin Khin, of George Washington University in Washington, told MedPage Today in a phone interview. She noted that several serial killers, including physician Michael Swango, first got into trouble in the U.S. and then went overseas…

“At least in the [United] States, because of incidents in 1990s and 2000s, we’ve really beefed up on the credentialing system, and institutions have started to communicate with each other better,” she continued. “People are not shedding enough light on the international phenomenon, and the global community has a little bit to catch up on in implementing guidelines and regulatory measures.”

In terms of the site, the vast majority of killings (72%) occurred in a hospital, with the remainder occurring in nursing homes (20%), patients’ homes (6%) and outpatient settings (2%)…

As to the method used, the majority of killings — 52% — were done via lethal injection, followed by unknown methods (25%), suffocation (11%), and water in the lungs (4%). Air embolus and oral medications were each used in another 3%, while equipment tampering and poisoning accounted for 1% each.

Followed by an entertaining segment describing motivation and telltale signs you may have a serial killer onboard.

The researchers recommended several steps for preventing healthcare serial killings, such as educating staff members on the issue, designating a national or international regulation and monitoring body, routine institutional monitoring of high-alert medication use and monthly mortality/cardiac arrest rates, and consensus guidelines for managing suspicious situations.

I imagine that the Feds can data mine the ACA digital record-keeping protocols for serial killers just as they now do for rip-off artists hustling Medicare. Every little bit helps, eh?

Profiling – from Hannibal Lecter to Bernie Madoff

SSA Mark Hitts, SSA Susan Kossler

Bernard Madoff — the architect of history’s biggest Ponzi scheme — and Gary Ridgway – the Green River killer — would seem to have little in common aside from being branded as “monsters” in the tabloids.

But a team of FBI agents, the same ones who specialize in helping local police track down serial killers like Ridgway, are using their expertise in behavioral profiling to target white collar criminals like Madoff.

For about two years now, agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Behavioral Analysis Unit have been consulting with their colleagues in New York who specialize in securities fraud detective work. The BAU agents are going over the case files put together by the FBI for Madoff and other convicted scammers like Bayou Group’s Samuel Israel, whose $400 million hedge fund turned out to be Ponzi scheme, and former Democratic fundraiser Hassan Nemazee, who stole nearly $300 million from Citigroup and two other big banks.

The hope is the BAU agents, whose work in profiling serial killers has been popularized in books, movies and on TV, can get into the minds’ of fraudsters and see what makes them tick…

The expanded efforts to sniff out white collar crime arise from a deep-seeded belief shared by many in law enforcement – that fraud is rife in some corners of Wall Street and corporate America. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Baharara says his office, which is prosecuting the big insider trading case against Galleon Group co-founder Raj Rajaratnam, has found that trading by hedge funds on confidential information is “pervasive and pernicious.”

Indeed, some of the FBI agents in New York assigned to investigating securities fraud openly describe some of their targets as operating like “professional criminals” – the kind of language you might expect agents to use when discussing the Mob or other organized crime syndicates…

Yet the agents with the FBI’s behavioral group, some of whom also are active in developing profiles of terrorists and criminals who prey on children, believe they can develop profiling strategies that will help undercover agents ferret out corrupt corporate titans, shady hedge fund traders and other Wall Street con artists. At a minimum, the profilers want to determine if major white collar criminals share enough personality traits and behavioral patterns that agents in interrogations and investigations could use the information they glean…

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