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Nurture is believed to have a strong impact on an individual’s nature. However, how can it be so that well-bring-up results in unacceptable adult behavior? One might expect that proper education and proper environment will preclude any gross social deviations, but as Michael Swango’s lifetime shows this may not be true. What is it that predicts educational failure and pedagogical misses? In this paper, Michael’s biography is considered with particular attention to his medical practice.

Michael Swango, born on October 21, 1954, was the middle child in a family of six of a US Army officer. John Virgil Swango used to serve in the Vietnam War of the 1960s. The family suffered from the alcoholic abuse of the father. Having returned from Vietnam, John Swango divorced his wife. Thus, Michael through his early youth did not negotiate with his father much and, in turn, was close to his mother. Michael Swango graduated from QuincyNotre DameHigh School. This is a private educational establishment, which provides a curriculum based on Catholic values. When studying in high school, Michael played a musical instrument (clarinet) and even participated in a band. Quincy Notre DameHigh School does not limit its students to Catholic outlook only. This was the case of Swango, that he was brought up to be a bible-studying Presbyterian. He was a respected graduate student to utter valedictory in 1972.

He found himself in the Navy, namely the United States Marine Corps. Marine Corps Recruit Depot of San Diego deals with recruits living west of the Mississippi River and Swango trained there. He successfully graduated from San Diego Recruit Depot at the age of 22 in 1976, bearing an honorable discharge. For no doubt, training in the Marine gave a strong push to his physical condition. For example, he was keen on jogging and performed gymnastics regularly. Thereby, even in spite of the fact that Swango participated in no military campaigns, he has become committed to physical exercise since that time for henceforth (Geringer, 2012).

A public junior college of Quincy follows in his lifetime. Swango graduated from QuincyCollege with honor, and he was awarded the American Chemical Society Award. On leaving the college, he applies to Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. He used to be a bright-minded student but preferred working in an ambulance rather than scholarship. He was noted to experience appeal to death or dying patients. Some of the patients that were attached to Swango to be ‘checked’ gradually ended up in unstable conditions or life-threatening events, or death as it happened to five of them. During an early anatomy class, Swango’s dissection of a cadaver was so botched that the specimen, which was put on display for all to see, became a school joke.

 Michael’s apathy to studying served him an unlucky turn. He was caught up faking with his obstetrics and gynecology checkups just a short time before was going to graduate. Later on, it had been suspected by some that he treated exams disreputably since the second year. Swango was close to expelling however, he was given a second chance due to the committee’s vote. Having reassigned his obstetrics and gynecology rotation and passed some other exams, he managed to graduate a year later. Just at that time a number of his colleagues concerned about Swango’s adequacy to become a medical society member.

It could not help his Dean’s reputation letter and the appraisal was really poor. Nevertheless, Swango started his internship as a surgeon at Ohio State University Medical Center as soon as 1983. During his proceeding in 2000, Swango admitted Cynthia McGee, a 19-year old student who was under his supervision, was the first murder committed by him. He injected Potassium chloride into her vessel, a chemical compound that causes heart paralysis in high doses. Later, that was a neurosurgery residency to follow. The medical center of the OhioStateUniversity is considered to be among the best for medical specialties and used to be the first to introduce practical medicine to freshmen. Trouble around Swango became more apparent. For example, nurses noticed that otherwise healthy patients could die unexpectedly when Swango was on his duty. Another time, a nurse witnessed him injecting into a patient some drug for the latter to worsen later. Those who reported suspicious cases were accused of paranoia. He demonstrated an unhealthy interest in critical patients as if waiting for them to pass away. And when they did, he adapted a habit of scratching ‘DIED’ across their charts in bold red letters. When one pupil asked him how he could be so cold, he answered, “Hey, death happens.”.

On the morning of January 31, 1984, Swango entered the room of a neurosurgery patient named Ruth Barrick, supposedly to check on her intravenous hook-up. The attending nurse, Deborah Kennedy, though it was strange as it was now nearly 10 a.m., and routine checks are usually performed much earlier, and by doctors, not interns. Still, Kennedy left the room as ordered. Some twenty minutes later, she returned to find Swango gone and the patient turning blue, writhing, suffocating. Doctors rushed to her bedside on Kennedy’s alert and were able to resuscitate Barrick. She recovered in the Intensive Care Unit. Hospital physicians were puzzled at what had caused an obvious respiratory failure.

His research work was performed so poorly that Swango’s cursory investigation in 1984 precluded any further internship. Thus, he was not hired as a resident. Later that year he would go back to Quincy. He tried to work in an ambulance and was fired for making a patient undergoing a heart attack drive to the hospital Next, he starts as an emergency medical technician at the Adams County Ambulance. Strange phrases continue to occur: should Swango assist in meal or coffee several of co-workers may become apparently ill. That year he was arrested to reveal poison (arsenic venom and ant poison) possession. The next year, in 1985 he was sentenced to imprisonment for poisoning and underwent physical abuse from colleagues, and released in 1989. Later, he would find a job as either a counselor at the Virginia career development center or a laboratory technician for a shipping agency, CITA Logistics. The same story continues – some of his co-workers become in demand of medical attention because of stomach disorders. Swango resigns in 1991 to re-start medical practice.

Treated with the name of Daniel J. Adams, Swango’s new legal name since 1991, he applies for residency program in OhioMedicalCenter. Next year, however, he starts to work for SanfordMedicalCenter in South Dakota. In order to apply both times he frauds his medical papers, as well as falsifies his criminal records. He works hard and gains a full value reputation in Sanford that fails as soon as American Medical Association, for which membership he applied, re-checked Swango’s past. Thus, Sanford fires him. It is of note, his girlfriend Kristin Kinney having left Michael Swango, her migraine-like headaches disappear.

StonyBrookSchool of Medicine in New York would be next to shelter Swango in a psychiatric residency program. Here, at the VeteransAffairsMedicalCenter patient start dying with no apparent reason to do so. Here, indented murders go on:

”I intentionally killed Mr. Siano, who was at the time a patient at the veterans’ hospital in Northport …I did this by administering a toxic substance which I knew was likely to cause death. I knew it was wrong.”.

During the criminal investigations of 2000, there were at least more three proven murders by means of lethal injections detected: Thomas Sammarco, 73, George Siano, 60, and Aldo Serini, 50.

Just a few months later, his ex-girlfriend commits suicide with arsenic found in Kinney’s stomach. As a result, her mother gets in touch with a friend of Kinney’s, who alerted Swango’s dean. Together, they told the story to Stony Brook dean, Jordan Cohen, and after strong questioning, Swango admitted his falsehood curriculum vitae. Swango has fired again. Years to pass, his dean at Stony Brook and Chief of his department, Alan Miller, is forced to quit from their positions. Even before doing that, Cohen warns all medical schools and teaching hospitals in the US about the threat of Swango.

Since the affairs at a Veterans Center authorities get involved. He was caught out by the FBI in 1994 in Atlanta working as a chemist for a wastewater company under false documents. Being fired, he leaves the country for Zimbabwe to get a job at MneneLutheranMissionHospital.

Rhoda Mahlamvana had entered MneneLutheranHospital with burns received in an accident at her home. She was doing well and was scheduled to leave the hospital in a few days. After Swango took over her case, her condition deteriorated. She died shortly thereafter. Swango could not explain.

Now, again patients may die for no reason mysteriously. However, as autopsies could not be obtained for the majority of cases, the medical director there could obtain no firm attests. At that time, Swango was renting a room with a single lady in Bulawayo who too became unexpectedly sick from arsenic poisoning after a meal by Swango. FBI got the lab results of the poisoning case and visited Zimbabwe. Thus, Swango moves to Namibia and later, in 1997, to Saudi Arabia, using a false résumé. After many years, the authorities of Zimbabwe accuse him of seven poisonings, five of them lethal.

At this time, criminal investigators in accompany by psychiatrists and FBI made a review of available data and provided the Immigration and Naturalization Service with reliable evidence to arrest Swango, which occurred in 1997 while he was staying in an International Airport on his way to Saudi Arabia. Next year he was sentenced for 3.5 years for fraudulent activities. Nevertheless, just before he was going to release from prison in 2000, federal prosecutors filed a criminal complaint charging Swango with established cases of murder. A book about him, Blind Eye: The Story of a Doctor Who Got Away with Murder, suggests Mr. Swango might have killed as many as 35 patients as he moved from hospital to hospital, lying about his background (Milicia, 2000). He was pleaded guilty and sentenced to three life terms. He is currently in the United States Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Facility, Colorado.

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