Bruce Sackman (@bts1811) is a renowned investigator specializing in tracking down medical serial killers. He is the co-author of Behind the Murder Curtain: Special Agent Bruce Sackman Hunts Doctors and Nurses Who Kill Our Veterans.
What We Discuss with Bruce Sackman:
- How Bruce first became aware of the MSKs (medical serial killers) who were operating for years, undetected, in our veterans hospitals.
- Why it’s so difficult — even for medical professionals — to spot their colleagues who kill in a hospital environment (and why it’s often covered up when they do).
- How the monstrously prolific body count of a quietly efficient MSK makes the serial killers who wind up famous as household names and true crime documentary subjects seem like amateurs in comparison.
- What motivates an MSK to murder the people who trust and rely on them for care?
- How Bruce’s experience with tracking, exposing, and catching MSKs have helped investigators and forensic nurses throughout the world put a stop to these formerly unchecked murder sprees.
- And much more…
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When veterans hospital patients on the road to recovery suddenly die in increasing numbers, it’s up to VA Special Agent in Charge Bruce Sackman to find out why. His shocking discovery rips open the hidden world of what goes on behind the bedside curtains when a killer doctor or nurse decides a patient must die, as detailed in his book Behind the Murder Curtain: Special Agent Bruce Sackman Hunts Doctors and Nurses Who Kill Our Veterans.
In this episode, we talk to Bruce about the dark world of MSKs — medical serial killers — doctors and nurses who murder the people who trust and rely on them for care. We get into everything from sinister motivations to the strategies these predators use to avoid detection — sometimes for years — among the enshrined halls of our nation’s medical institutions. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
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THANKS, BRUCE SACKMAN!
If you enjoyed this session with Bruce Sackman, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Resources from This Episode:
- Behind the Murder Curtain: Special Agent Bruce Sackman Hunts Doctors and Nurses Who Kill Our Veterans by Bruce Sackman, Michael Vecchione, and Jerry Schmetterer
- Bruce Sackman | Website
- Bruce Sackman | Twitter
- Bruce Sackman | Instagram
- Bruce Sackman | Facebook
- Bruce Sackman | LinkedIn
- James Carter | The White House
- Office of Inspector General | Dept. of Veterans Affairs
- Dr. Harold Shipman | Murderpedia
- Michael Swango | Murderpedia
Transcript for Bruce Sackman | A Glimpse Behind the Murder Curtain (Episode 470)
Jordan Harbinger: Microsoft Teams is helping Priority Bicycles transform the way they work. After closing their New York City showroom, they started doing virtual visits on Teams. Now, people from all over the world can come into their showroom. Learn more at microsoft.com/teams.
[00:00:15] Coming up on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:18] Bruce Sackman: He did the autopsy of Medgar Evers. Medgar Evers had been in the ground for years. When that body got shifted up to Albany, New York, from Georgia, for him to do the autopsy, it wasn't pristine condition. In fact, Michael Baden said he looked better than some of the staff that was actually working there in the morgue.
[00:00:41] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people. We have in-depth conversations with people at the top of their game, spies and psychologists, astronauts and entrepreneurs, even the occasional drug trafficker, economic Hitman, or organized crime figure. Each episode turns our guests' wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better critical thinker.
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[00:01:33] Today, medical serial killers. I don't know if I wanted to hear those words stack together. That's just terrifying. This is just what it sounds like. You go to the hospital for something and you end up coming home — well, never, or coming home in a box or a loved one does. And you just don't understand why. What went wrong? Most medical murders are invisible to law enforcement because they fly under the radar. They're called angel of death murders. It's really easy to administer a poison or just an overdose of a drug to somebody who already has lines and IVs running into them, 24/7. Often these killers get away with it for ages because the institution that they work for simply wants to save face. So they ignore the reports. They bury the facts and the evidence that might make them look bad.
[00:02:17] Usually, we only find out when we see sudden upticks in death or clusters of dead in a specific hospital under care of a specific physician or practitioner at a specific time. So in other words, it's very difficult, but that's just what today's guest specializes in doing. His name is Bruce Sackman. He was the special agent in charge at the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of the Inspector General. So this is a guy who used to kind of came up, just looking for people, stealing drugs and selling them on the street and suddenly realized that people were dying right under the nose of the VA. And that they were dying due, not to natural causes, not even to negligence, but to deliberate acts by medical practitioners in the VA hospital system. And it's not limited to the VA, of course. We're going to hear all about this today, how they're catching medical serial killers. And of course, some kind of spooky and gross examples of the real thing.
[00:03:09] And if you're wondering how I find stories like this, they always come to me through my network. I'm teaching you how to build your network for free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. By the way, most of the guests you hear on the show, they subscribe and contribute to this course. Come join us, you'll be in smart company. Now, here we go with Bruce Sackman.
[00:03:31] So, first of all, thanks for coming down. I appreciate it. I read the book. I really enjoyed it. I think it was — I wouldn't say it's a fun read exactly.
[00:03:42] Bruce Sackman: Oh, well, yeah, I'd have to agree with you. It's maybe not a fun read, but it certainly in parts enjoyable and entertaining, I would say.
[00:03:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I would agree with that. I think first it pays to sort of give us the two-minute overview of what you did at the Veterans Administration. Because first of all, I don't even know if most people know what the VA is. And I didn't think that they would've had an inspector general. I mean, it makes sense, but it's something that most people don't know exists. Right?
[00:04:11] Bruce Sackman: Well, not only don't most people know that it exists, but probably most veterans don't even know that it exists. So I'll tell you a little bit about it and how I became involved with it and how it wound up being a book.
[00:04:26] Jordan Harbinger: Great.
[00:04:26] Bruce Sackman: So this is what happened. President Jimmy Carter, way back when, decided that every federal agency needed an inspector general. And the way they were going to do this is that they were going to have an act of Congress that says — first of all, it was every major federal agency, but eventually it came down to just about every federal agency. And the purpose of the inspector generals is to ferret out fraud, waste, and abuse. So there's an inspector general in the Department of Defense. There's an inspector general in Health and Human Services. And the Department of Veterans Affairs has an inspector general as well.
[00:05:07] Now, most offices of inspector generals are set up two different ways. They have an office of investigations and an office of audit. And the office of audit does well, like the name says they do audits. And then there's an office of investigations. And that's where I come in. I was responsible for all major criminal investigations involving the VA Hospitals and outpatient clinics and regional offices from West Virginia to Maine. And I had a team of investigators that worked for me and I had five officers, but what made the VA inspector general a little bit different than the other inspector general is that we also had an office of healthcare inspection. That office of healthcare inspection included doctors and nurses that would go around to the hospitals and doing inspections as well.
[00:06:03] So the VA Office of Inspector General is a little bit unique. But it's not unusual for people to be completely unaware of the VA OIG. I mean, when I would introduce myself and I would say I'm from the VA OIG. What's that? Is that like the FBI or something? Well, not really, but it's in some ways it is, but the big difference between an inspector general and the FBI is the FBI investigates crimes and then they move on to the next crime. While the inspector general, the purpose of the inspector general is not only to investigate crimes, but take a deep dive into the system to see what went wrong and how we could change things to make things better. And that's what I did at the VA.
[00:06:51] Jordan Harbinger: That's interesting. I like that idea, that approach to law enforcement, like don't just go after the person who did this smash and grab, or the robbery, or more likely in your case, embezzled money or steal drugs from the hospital to resell on the street. I assume that was probably like 90 percent of what you did there. But maybe find out why the drugs are so easy to access and why there's the system that tracks them doesn't always work or why it's easy to circumvent that system, things like that.
[00:07:18] Bruce Sackman: Exactly. I had a case once involving a pharmacist that stole 200,000 doses of oxycodone. And when I caught the pharmacist. "Oh, wow. That's great, Bruce." But how do we know this isn't going on in other hospitals? I mean, what happened with the system that enabled him to do it and why did it take us so long to catch. And that's really the difference between an inspector general's task and the task of the FBI or other law enforcement agencies.
[00:07:49] Jordan Harbinger: That's a lot of oxycodone because — don't, those things go for like 10, 20 bucks on the street? I mean, that's a multimillion theft.
[00:07:57] Bruce Sackman: Absolutely. It is absolutely a multi-million-dollar theft. In fact, the perpetrator — I know it's a funny word we use — but the perpetrator of that crime actually was indicted under the drug kingpin statute because the dollar amount on the street was millions and millions of dollars. It only cost the hospital a dollar a pill, but the street value was $30 a pill. So when you do the math, you could see how much money is actually involved in a crime like that.
[00:08:27] Jordan Harbinger: Right. That's like, I don't know, somewhere in the neighborhood of six million bucks, just doing the quick math on my head because you're probably not getting 30 bucks every single time. Right? But like—
[00:08:35] Bruce Sackman: Right.
[00:08:35] Jordan Harbinger: —holy moly. Medical serial killer was something sort of a hard left turn in your career. Right? This is something that I assume — did you even know this kind of thing existed before getting into the office? I would assume this is something that you came across accidentally.
[00:08:51] Bruce Sackman: Completely by accident. I had no idea. I mean, I was extremely busy with my normal routine cases with this huge smorgasbord of white-collar crime cases and drug diversion cases and theft cases and bribery cases. So probably the furthest thing from my mind was some medical serial killer.
[00:09:12] And when I got a call from the chief of psychiatry At the Northport Long Island VA Medical Center. And she said, "Hey Bruce, we have a doctor here who's working here. And there's a new story that he actually spent time in jail for poisoning his coworkers." I had to pick up the phone. I didn't know if she was joking, if it was an April fool's joke or whatever. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't actually believe that a doctor would be employed by the United States Government to treat our nation's heroes who actually spent time in prison for poisoning his coworkers. And that's how it all began.
[00:09:51] Jordan Harbinger: There's so many different places to start here. Right? It's so disturbing because with medical serial killers, there's maybe no obvious cause of death. Trying to find people in hospitals who are under intensive care that don't have injection marks anywhere, it's like, of course, they have injection marks. It seems like you started to find out who these people were, of course, through that media story. And we'll get into that in a second, but that's way too late, right? When a current affair or Dateline NBC is doing a story on a doctor that's currently employed and saying, "Hey, this guy's probably a serial killer." The net has a few holes, right?
[00:10:25] Bruce Sackman: Oh, there are many holes in it. But you know, in fairness to people in the profession, it is extremely, extremely difficult for medical professionals to even acknowledge that someone on their staff is intentionally murdering people. Look, these people are medical professionals. They have taken an oath. They have taken an oath to save lives and the overwhelming majority of them are so hardworking, so dedicated. Hey, look, we see in the news everyday with this COVID-19. I mean, the risk they take and what they've achieved. You know, the hospital that I used to work in, well, I actually saw them perform miracles every day on patients. And to believe that someone in a staff of people like that is intentionally taking lives instead of saving lives is almost impossible for people to believe.
[00:11:22] So first, when some evidence starts to surface that patients had died unexpectedly and the death rate was so high that it could not be justified, people still have an incredibly difficult time in believing that someone on this staff is intentionally killing people. And I can understand that.
[00:11:45] Jordan Harbinger: Well, same here. Look, a lot of people don't want to believe that. And candidly, I'm one of those people. I was reading this and I go, "God, I hope this is just a few isolated incidents over the course of, you know, two or three decades or something like that. I would imagine it's pretty hard for you even investigating this to wrap your mind around the idea that people who are supposed to be helping us saving our lives, taking care of our elderly parents or children, very rarely but still more than zero, are actually murdering the people that we love and abusing our trust in them. I mean, that's just kind of hard to wrap your head around because the alternative is kind of too terrifying to accept. You're most vulnerable when you're in a hospital and you want to think these people have my best interests in mind, they're doing their best. We don't even want to be that they're negligent. Let alone that somebody is coming in at night and putting poison in our medication or pulling the plug on us.
[00:12:35] Bruce Sackman: And we have every right to believe that because the overwhelming majority of healthcare professionals are really so honest and so dedicated, but because they work in that environment where so many people are so honest and so dedicated, it's easier for them to get away with murder. And we've seen these cases all over the world. Certainly, not just at the VA, but all over the world where people have finally come to the realization after so many deaths that maybe, there is a problem.
[00:13:11] It's not unusual in these cases, all over the world to find a nurse or a physician that has worked in, let's say hospital A and they suspect something. But rather than call the police. They're just very happy to move him on the hospital B then to hospital C and never say anything. And they leave a long trail of victims behind them.
[00:13:37] You know, they say, I guess the traditional, if that's the right term, serial killer maybe kills between six and eight people, oh, they're amateurs compared to my medical serial killer. I'd say the average medical serial killer is doing maybe 60 people. I could talk about recent cases around the world that far exceed that number.
[00:13:59] Jordan Harbinger: That's horrible. There was one guy in England that I've read about in your book. I think his name was Shipman.
[00:14:03] Bruce Sackman: Yes.
[00:14:04] Jordan Harbinger: He killed like 459 people. That’s like my entire neighborhood.
[00:14:09] Bruce Sackman: Yeah. Harold Shipman is the undisputed undefeated champion of medical serial killers as far as I know. And he didn't kill people in a hospital. He actually made house calls. And when you walk down the streets in England, as I did with a detective and he'd say, "Well, you see Bruce, he killed somebody in that house and somebody in that house, somebody in that house." And it went on and on for years. And you know, Harold Shipman — this is interesting. If you think about this, Jordan. Harold Shipman is the one and only physician in the history of England to be successfully criminally prosecuted for murdering his patients. And I'm talking, going back to the Norman Conquest, this is the first and one and only doctor to ever be convicted of doing that. So I think that tells you how difficult these cases are to make. They're extremely difficult to make.
[00:15:08] Jordan Harbinger: I want to talk about Michael Swango. This guy is nightmare fuel. He poisoned his fellow EMTs with ant poison in their donuts. This is before he became a doctor, I guess, or was he—
[00:15:18] Bruce Sackman: No.
[00:15:18] Jordan Harbinger: —sort of working with a team?
[00:15:19] Bruce Sackman: Well, I'll tell you the story of Michael Swango. The story of Michael Swango actually begins when he was in medical school. When he was in medical school, his fellow students referred to him as Double-O Swango, licensed to kill. This is in medical school. Because it seemed that every time he would visit patients, they would die unexpectedly. So when it was time for graduation and the students wrote a letter to the dean and they said, "Hey Dean, I don't think this guy, Michael Swango should be a doctor." And the Dean said, "What do you guys know? You're only students. I'm the Dean. I think he should be a doctor. Maybe he needs a little bit more training, okay. So we'll keep him a little bit longer and give him some more training," which they do. And eventually he graduates and does an internship at Ohio State University. So guess what happens at Ohio State University? People start to die unexpectedly.
[00:16:19] One particular case was a case of a gymnast. A young student in the university named Cynthia McGee. Cynthia McGee gets in a car crash with another student. She's in Ohio State University Medical Center. And she's doing better until she gets a visit from Dr. Swango. Guess what happens to her?
[00:16:38] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:16:39] Bruce Sackman: Well, she dies unexpectedly. But the Swango get charged? No, Swango doesn't get charged. The student that hit her in the car. Now, he gets charged with vehicular homicide. Because they say, "Well, you're the one who hit her with the car. You're the one that had put her in the hospital and she died."
[00:16:58] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man.
[00:16:58] Bruce Sackman: So look at the double tragedy here. Not at all only the death of Cynthia McGee, this beautiful young gymnast, but the student who actually got charged with vehicular homicide. All of a sudden in Ohio State University, they start saying, "You know what, something's going on with this guy, Swango. I don't know. He visits patients, the death rate goes up. You know, he's off for a week. The death rate goes down." So they do an investigation, but they can't prove it because these cases are incredibly difficult to prove.
[00:17:33] Well, Swango realized there's a lot of heat on him. So he returns to one of his first loves. And you know what one of his first loves was? To be an EMT because he craved the action of an EMT, an emergency medical technician. Just like he craved the actions of a code. You know, a code in the hospital when the lights and the whistles go off and the crash card comes in, the nurses come running in to try and save a patient. That's very exciting. And that's what he loved. So he leaves Ohio State University and he becomes an EMT and he's working as an EMT and they were actually happy to have a licensed physician working as an EMT.
[00:18:16] But he saw this as an opportunity to do some experimentation. So he decided to put some arsenic in the ice tea of his coworkers and earlier on some donuts and they all got sick. He would call them up and he would say, "Tell me about your symptoms. Tell me what happened." Because one thing about Michael Swango, he enjoyed not only the poisoning, but he enjoyed talking to the victims while they were suffering. Sort of a double bite of the excitement, okay. So it was the excitement of actually poisoning people and then excitement of hearing them and talking to them as they're suffering. Incredible.
[00:18:58] Well, these EMTs were pretty smart and they were able to determine that he had actually put poison in their ice tea and they called the police and the police did an excellent investigation. And they went to Swango's home and they found not only all kinds of books on poison, but they found ant poison and he claimed, well, he had an ant problem. All right. But it turned out the ants that he claimed that he had were not from his area, or the country apparently. He brought in a few from another area of the country. So the police did a wonderful job and he got sentenced to five years in prison, and with a specific warning, not to work in the kitchen, who went five years in prison for poisoning his coworkers.
[00:19:44] Now, I didn't know that in the United States of America, you could spend years in prison for poisoning your coworkers and come out and be a physician. But that's exactly what happened, Jordan.
[00:19:58] Jordan Harbinger: Unbelievable.
[00:19:59] Bruce Sackman: It is unbelievable. It is unbelievable. And this is the way he did it. You know, being whether a sociopath or psychopath, whatever, he was extremely charming. I mean, when I spoke to this guy, he was really, really charming. And he had a great way of charming people into believing his story. So he came out with this story that he had been in prison because he was an ex-Marine and he was a tough ex-Marine. And he got the bar room brawl and he went to prison for that, but he came out of prison and the governor of the state had restored his civil rights. Wow, that's wonderful. Wonderful doctor. So yeah, here's a piece of paper. Did anybody verify this paper? No, nobody verified it. So eventually he winds up working at a VA Hospital on the West coast and he meets a young lady, a VA nurse. They fall in love and everything is going well. And then all of a sudden, somebody picks up the story. That he had spent time for poisoning his coworkers.
[00:21:03] Well, that didn't go over very well. And the fiancee was shocked. She couldn't believe it. She was shocked. Dr. Swango has to leave, of course. The fiancee, her name was Kristin. Kenney, Kristin goes home to mom and dad in Virginia. And she says, "I am so upset. You know, I really loved this Michael Swango and I thought we were going to have a great life together. I was so shocked when I heard about what he did. I mean, I just can't take it. I can't believe it." So she goes to the park one day, she takes out a gun and she blows her brains out. Well, you can't blame Swango for that, can you? Well, yes you can because even though the body was cremated. The family kept the lock of her hair. We tested this hair and it was loaded with arsenic. So Swango was not only poisoning patients. He was even poisoning his own fiancee.
[00:21:58] Jordan Harbinger: He was what? Sending her candy with arsenic in it or something like that as a gift? Or, I mean, how did he even get that?
[00:22:02] Bruce Sackman: You know what? That I do not know, but I mean, they were together so much. He could have been putting it in her ice tea for all I know, but I know it was in her system. It was in her system at this incredible level.
[00:22:15] Jordan Harbinger: Jeez.
[00:22:16] Bruce Sackman: So after moving around a bit, believe it or not, he winds up at Stony Brook University Medical Center out on Long Island. Now, Stony Brook University Medical Center has a teaching arrangement with the Northport VA Medical Center out on Long Island. So they will send physicians over to the VA to help and to work. And that's how Swango wound up in my neighborhood at the VA.
[00:22:43] Now, if you're wondering how he got there. Well, he was actually doing a residency. And guess what field it was in? It was in psychiatry.
[00:22:54] Jordan Harbinger: Ugh.
[00:22:54] Bruce Sackman: So you know what that meant? That meant that he had to go in front of a board of trained psychiatrists and convince them that he should be in the program. Now, if he could fool a board of trained psychiatrist that he should be in the program. That I think gives you a pretty good idea of how convincing this guy was, okay.
[00:23:15] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. How was he killing people? Was it just arsenic or was he poisoning them somehow with their IV bags in the hospital or smothering them? I mean, how do the murders take place? I know that's a little dark, but people are wondering.
[00:23:28] Bruce Sackman: Well, I'll be very happy to tell you, you know what, in a hospital, in a crash cart, there are many, many drugs on the crash cart. Some of which if not used properly can cause death. If I'm a medical serial killer, and I want to kill people, do I have to like, you know, bring in a knife or a gun? No, because all these death dealing chemicals all laid out for me on the crash cart. And all I have to do is use one or more of these chemicals. And I could take somebody out very easily. And that's what he did.
[00:24:02] Now, in the case of Swango, he used two particular drugs that were available at the hospital. And these are drugs that no one would be testing for unless they suspected something. The first drug is epinephrine. Epinephrine is adrenaline, all right. Epinephrine is given to speed up your heart, but if taken incorrectly, it could kill you. The second drug was succinylcholine. In the hospital, they refer to it as Sux. What it is, it's a paralytic and it actually used to intubate you and put a tube down until it paralyzes you. And these are the two drugs that he used to kill people. And eventually when he pled guilty, he admitted to using a paralytic and to using epinephrine as well.
[00:24:50] Jordan Harbinger: It makes sense because we're never going to — if someone dies in the hospital, especially if they're in the intensive care unit or something, we're not going to say, "What happened?" We're going to say, "Oh, well, we thought she was stable, but she wasn't. She passed away." There's probably not going to be a toxicology-autopsy type of investigation for most of these, right?
[00:25:08] Bruce Sackman: Oh no. And remember, there are two types— you mentioned autopsies. There are actually two types of autopsies. There's a hospital autopsy and then there's a forensic autopsy. Like you see on television. A hospital autopsy is, well, it's sort of a confirmatory autopsy and we don't really do many of them anymore because nobody wants to pay for it. So it was a great, great teaching tool, but it's not really done anymore. So a hospital autopsy will look and say, "Could the patient have expired as a result of one or more of his disease processes?"
[00:25:44] Now, when I first looked at the patient records at the VA. And this is before all electronic records. I mean, the records were two, three feet thick, and I said, "My God, I didn't know, you could still be alive and have this much wrong with you. And I'm supposed to prove that this person was murdered," right? So that makes it very easy, very difficult.
[00:26:06] Now, a forensic autopsy is when you're looking for a particular murder weapon. Is there a drug in the person's system that shouldn't be there? I mean, can we show that the drug was incorrectly or inappropriately removed from the hospital and administered to the patient? Which wouldn't be in the record, but at least we have an idea of what to look for. And that's how we found out about the epinephrine and the succinylcholine. But the way we find out about this is after the patients had died.
[00:26:37] Because if you look at a typical crime scene, like you see on television, a typical crime scene, well, you see the lab boys there and there's usually a body and, you know, you have DNA and, and all these wonderful techniques, but in a hospital crime scene, more likely than not the patient's not even there anymore. In fact, the crime scene, if you will, has been scrubbed to surgical standards. So, what the hell are you going to find then? Although if you know where to look, you could find things in some electronic devices, which I can talk about at another time.
[00:27:14] But so what we had to do is assemble a team because I don't care if you're the reincarnation of Sherlock Holmes, you cannot do this case yourself. You need a team of experts, and that's what we gathered. And the very first expert I reached out to was a fellow that's been on the news and that's actually had his own show. His name is Dr. Michael Baden, a world-famous forensic pathologist. And I said, "Michael, you know what? I'm a white-collar crime guy. I've never done one of these cases before. How do you do it?" And he said, "Don't worry, Bruce. Don't worry. I'll teach you. You just watch me and I'll guide you and I'll help you through these cases." And getting training like that from Michael Baden was like learning physics from Albert Einstein. I mean, you really couldn't get a better teacher.
[00:28:09] And I say, "Well, why do we have to do? Why do we have to do?" He says, "Well, this is what we do? The first thing we do is assemble a team. I'll be on the team. We're going to reach out to physicians who are experts in chart review. We're going to get toxicologists. And we're also going to reach out to this relatively new profession at the time called forensic nursing." And forensic nursing are nurses that are trained as nurses, and they're also trained in forensic science. "And what we're going to do, we're going to pull every medical record of every patient that was in Northport, the time that Swango was there. And we're going to look and see if some of these people's deaths are suspicious." And in other words, some of them really die and their death was unexpected.
[00:28:57] You know, Michael Baden and describe natural death to me like this, he said, "Bruce, natural death is if you have a fan and you shut off the fan and the blades gradually, gradually stop. That's natural death. But these people died like shutting off a light bulb. They were bright one minute and dark the next." In fact, if you ever had a loved one that was near death in a hospital, you know, the family knows that they expect the patient to expire. The staff knows it. But these patients were just the opposite. I mean, they would go visit dad and they say, "Wow, dad is doing great at the VA. We could go on vacation and then we'll come back and we'll see dad when we get back." You know what happened when they were on vacation, they got a phone call from Swango telling them that dad had died. And not only did he tell them that dad had died, but he went into a great explanation of how dad died in his last half hour on earth.
[00:29:57] And why was that? Because he was reliving the thrill. He was reliving them excitement. Again, the first time actually murdering the patient. The second time, calling up the family and advising them of dad's death. Could you imagine getting a call like that?
[00:30:15] Jordan Harbinger: Ugh, it's so disturbing .And it's so evil. It's just — by the way, I know people are thinking right now. They're like, "I got to Google this guy." He's in a supermax prison rotting, and then he's going to go straight to hell. So we don't have to worry about Swango anymore. But there's other Swangos out there, right? I mean, it's just by law of probability.
[00:30:33] Bruce Sackman: Oh yeah. I mean, we could talk about some of the most recent Swangos that are out there. I mean, there was a nurse in Germany and there was a headline in the newspaper. It said, "German nurse charged with 97 more murders at hospital."
[00:30:48] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[00:30:48] Bruce Sackman: 97 more murders. Well, how many murders did he commit before the 97 more murders? And was this in one hospital or was this at multiple hospitals? And what is the total number of people that he killed and why did he kill these people and how did he kill these people?
[00:31:06] So I actually dealt with the German police on this and they did an outstanding job. But unfortunately, the all-too-familiar scenario occurred with this German nurse as did with Swango and other nurses before, although Swango was a nurse, and other medical professionals before, and it's like this, hospital A — with this German nurse, his name is Niels Hoegel. They suspected something of Niels because every time he was on duty, the death rate went up. He would take a vacation. The death rate went down. Now, does that automatically mean that he's a serial killer? No. Maybe Niels was assigned the most difficult cases. You know, cases where people weren't expected to live anyway, so maybe that's why it is.
[00:31:54] But that's when they first saw something and they saw more and they saw more. So what did they do? They gave him an opportunity to move on to another hospital and they gave him an outstanding rating because they were so happy to get rid of him. You see the directors of the hospitals say, "Oh my God, do you want this to get out in the newspaper that we have a serial killer on staff? I mean, we have enough time making our budget now. I mean, nobody's going to come to this hospital if that gets in the paper. But if this man or woman moves on to the next hospital, good, we're done with it. Goodbye. Not our problem anymore."
[00:32:36] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Bruce Sackman. We'll be right back.
[00:32:41] Microsoft Teams is helping Priority Bicycles reinvent the way they work. When the pandemic hit, the bike shop had to close their New York City showroom. They found a way to reopen by doing virtual visits on Teams. Now, the team can meet with two or three times the number of customers than they could before. And people from all over the world can visit their showroom. Learn more about their story and others at microsoft.com/teams. Now back to Bruce Sackman on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:33:12] Not only is it horrifying, it's dangerous, right? What do you think about this? Because in my book, just from a legal perspective, you're an accessory to murder if you're essentially going, "Hey, this guy's probably a serial killer. What we should do is make sure that he has the same opportunities, but just not in my backyard."
[00:33:27] Bruce Sackman: Well, I couldn't agree more. And the German authorities to their credit have actually gone after managers. Here in the United States for the most, we have not done that. And you know, their defenses, "Well, no, we didn't know he was a serial killer. We actually thought maybe his skillset wasn't that good. He needed improvement. We weren't really sure. I mean, we're not cops, you know, we're not the police. So we weren't really sure that he was intentionally killing people. We just thought maybe his skillset wasn't that good."
[00:34:02] Jordan Harbinger: That sounds like a convenient — what do you call that? Is it just self-delusion? I mean, it's beyond that, right? That's like saying, "Hey, this guy won the Powerball lottery three times in a row. He's so lucky." It's like, "Whoa, whoa, something is wrong here." When you have a better chance of getting struck by lightning three times in one week, you're probably doing something that is not just — you're doing something to increase your odds here. It just doesn't add up.
[00:34:27] Bruce Sackman: I know. And you know, you have to ask yourself, "Well, how do we find out about these cases? How did these cases come to life?
[00:34:34] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:34:34] Bruce Sackman: Many times, they come about from coworkers, nurses and physicians, who noticed these irregularities. And first they report it to management. And more often than not, management will take an attitude like this. They'll say, "Thank you very much nurse for bringing this matter to our attention. We'll get back to you." And this is what they do. Sometimes they will appoint the board of their in-house physicians and nurses. Nobody from the outside, nobody trained in forensics. And they will have them review the folders of patients that had expired when this nurse or doctor was on duty. And many times, they'll come back with this and they'll say, "Thank you nurse for bringing this to our attention. We appointed a board of our very best physicians and nurses. They took a hard look at these cases. And they made a determination that all these people expired as a direct result of their disease processes."
[00:35:35] Sometimes there's even autopsies performed. And if you look at the death certificates, they all read that the patients die from myocardial infarction or some kind of heart thing. "So we've done our homework and we've come to the conclusion that there really was no foul play here. So thank you very much nurse or doctor for bringing this out to our attention." And then when the nurse, the doctor is not happy with that answer, then sometimes they take the very bold and courageous step of going outside the hospital. And let me tell you that is a very bold and courageous step.
[00:36:14] There's a true story about two nurses in a place called Kermit, Texas. Kermit, Texas is in the oil basin in Texas, there's about 5,800 people in the town of Kermit, Texas. They had one hospital. And if you talk to the management, they'll say, "Do you know how hard it is to find doctors and nurses and Kermit, Texas? My God, we have to go all the way to the Philippines. And hey, you know what? If we ever made friends with North Korea, we might take some of them because we can't find people to come here. So, you know what. If the background investigation we did on some of our people is not that great. Well, excuse me, because we can't find people to come here."
[00:36:57] So there were two nurses. These two nurses were actually the entire compliance department of the hospital in Kermit, Texas. And they said, "You know, there's this one doctor. And we think he's very incompetent. We think he's harming patients. Let's go and tell the management." And they go to management and you know what the management says, "Do you know how hard it is to find doctors here with Kermit, Texas?" "Why? We have to go right now?" You know, the story.
[00:37:22] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, basically, they're saying, "Unless you want to have your next medical treatment done by," I don't know, "The gym teacher at the local high school, because that's the next best thing we have. You're going to put up with the fact that maybe this person is a little underqualified, but they're light years more qualified than the next person in line, who has no idea about that medical treatment at all, or it knows how to draw blood and that's it."
[00:37:47] Bruce Sackman: Absolutely. So, what did these two nurses do now? Very interesting story. They go to management; they get rejected by management. They said, "Hey, we have to do something." So one nurse says, "I have an idea. Let's send an anonymous letter to the Texas Medical Board, telling them about this doctor and we'll send some patient information, but we won't send the patient's names to give the medical board an idea of what happened." And they do that anonymously and it gets back to this doctor and, boy, is he pissed. So it so happens that one of his patients happens to be the local sheriff, a local sheriff by the name of Robert Roberts.
[00:38:32] And he says, "Sheriff Roberts, I think these women are intentionally trying to harm my reputation. And I think they violated the law because I think they're the ones that sent this information to the state in an unofficial capacity. And I think that's misuse of official information." And Sheriff Robert said, "Don't worry about it, doc. I'm on the case." And he gets a search warrant and he goes into the hospital computer of these two nurses and he finds out that they're the ones that sent this anonymous letter. So what does he do? He actually has them indicted and arrested for misuse of official information, which is a felony in those parts of Texas. And it's time for trial.
[00:39:19] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my God.
[00:39:19] Bruce Sackman: And it's time for trial. And one nurse goes on trial and the jury is out for an hour and they come back and they say, "Are you kidding me? These nurses deserve a medal for what they did. Not to be criminally prosecuted." And they all came out and they hugged the defendant. But look at what these nurses had to go through. What kind of message does that send out to other nurses and doctors who want to be whistleblowers, even though they won at the end?
[00:39:48] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:39:48] Bruce Sackman: They couldn't find work afterwards. They sued, they split a $750,000 settlement. So what? Look at the message that it sent out. So if you want to be a whistleblower against this doctor, against this nurse, and you start to do a little Google and you'll see what happened to these two nurses. You're going to say, "Holy cow, is that going to happen to me?" So it takes a lot of courage to be a whistleblower.
[00:40:17] And one of my cases in the book, the case of Kristen Gilbert who killed, allegedly, about 30 veterans, but was actually convicted of killing — I forgot four or five veterans. Her coworkers who brought this to attention — you know, their backgrounds were imperfect. Because if I'm a whistleblower and I might have to testify that I saw Kristen Gilbert with epinephrine or I saw Kristen Gilbert do this. Then when I go on the stand, I'm going to be cross-examined. And they're going to look in my background and they're going to say, "Ah, Nurse Sackman. Um, is your medical license up to snuff? If you were given a drug test right now, how would you test? Would you test positive?"
[00:40:56] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:40:57] Bruce Sackman: "Or would you test negative?" And we all have things in our background, so people are afraid. They say, "Not only am I afraid of what happened to these two nurses in Texas, but I'm afraid when they start to look in my background, they're going to find things."
[00:41:11] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:41:11] Bruce Sackman: "That I'm not too proud of." So you could imagine it takes incredible courage, incredible courage to come forth and be a whistleblower. And then even after the case is over. In the case of Kristen Gilbert, even after she was convicted and sent to prison for life, the coworkers of these whistleblowers were still angry at the whistleblowers. "How could you do such a thing? We worked so hard to increase the reputation of our hospital throughout the community and what you did brought us down, down, down."
[00:41:47] Jordan Harbinger: Talk about shooting the messenger.
[00:41:49] Bruce Sackman: Exactly.
[00:41:49] Jordan Harbinger: Kristen Gilbert was responsible for over 80 percent of the deaths on her ward, and even more close calls, which were probably attempts to kill according to the book. And people are shooting the messenger and saying, "Oh, you're making us look bad." And it's like, "How about the freaking murderer that killed a bunch of our patients who are actually getting well? Maybe that's the person that made us look bad, not the person that called 911." You know, that's like saying, "I can't believe, you called the fire department when this house was burning down in our neighborhood. Now everyone thinks there's fires in our neighborhood." But you don't blame the guy that's standing there with matches and a gas can who lit the house on fire in the first place? You know, we were supposed to sweep that under the rug.
[00:42:31] Bruce Sackman: I know. And look, I get it why the staff initially was very reluctant to believe.
[00:42:38] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:42:38] Bruce Sackman: Because Kristen Gilbert — and I'll tell you something, my vision of a serial killer had always been like a Charles Manson-type, you know, crazy hair and a swastika on his forehead. And here we have a typical soccer mom. "Oh, hi Bruce. Yeah. I've talked to you after I come back from the game with my kids." And this is the one that had killed many, many of our nation's heroes. So then the staff, the staff would say, "Wait a minute. Kristen Gilbert? Do you know what happens when there's a code? When there's a code, Kristen Gilbert comes running in. She takes charge. She starts barking orders at the young interns who are scared out of their mind, who have never been through something like that." And the doctors would say, Kristen Gilbert? You know, if I have a coded, I would want her to be there because she knows how to handle this situation." Of course, if you cause the code to begin with.
[00:43:35] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:43:36] Bruce Sackman: That's something else. And that's exactly what she did. And she was the true definition of what we call code junkies. Just like the German nurse, the same thing. She craved the excitement of a code because this brought all the attention to her. You know, psychologists referred to this as Munchausen syndrome by proxy.
[00:43:58] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:43:59] Bruce Sackman: And you know what it is, we've seen cases where a mother will intentionally harm a child, bring the child into the hospital and try to show the staff what a caring mother she is. "Oh my God. I saw this. I brought her right in here. Please help my daughter." But, of course, she actually caused the injury to begin with. It's the same thing with these people, whether it be Niels Hoegel in Germany or Kristen Gilbert or others throughout the world, probably. The number one, psychological reasons for these, it's not exclusive, but the number one has certainly been this Munchausen syndrome by proxy.
[00:44:38] Jordan Harbinger: This is insane to me and it should be to everyone. So these medical serial killers, many of them like watching people die. Some like the rush and the glory of saving the person who has coded the code junkie. Like you just mentioned since they're the ones who caused the code in the first place. Gilbert though, the odds of this many deaths being connected to one practitioner, you wrote this in the book and I was wondering if it was exaggerated or if this is the actual number, but you said it's something like a hundred million to one that you would be connected to that many codes, that many deaths. Did I get that right?
[00:45:10] Bruce Sackman: You got that right. In fact, in the case of Kristen Gilbert, it went to trial. This trial lasted six months, every day for six months. And that's one of the things that came out because we had an expert in these kinds of statistics testify to that number. So there's actually six-month trial where every conceivable expert on both sides had an opportunity to explain exactly what happened. Now, the interesting thing about Kristen Gilbert. Kristen Gilbert was a death penalty case in a state that does not have the death penalty.
[00:45:49] Jordan Harbinger: How can that be? How could that be?
[00:45:51] Bruce Sackman: Great question. And this is how, because the crime actually occurred on a federal installation. It would be like it occurred on a military base.
[00:46:00] Jordan Harbinger: Gotcha. Okay. So VA Hospitals are considered federal or military institutions.
[00:46:05] Bruce Sackman: It depends. VA Hospitals come in three different flavors. The jurisdiction versus the exclusive jurisdiction. That's like the Northport VA. That's the exclusive territory of the United States. That means even the local police can't come on there, unless they're invited. It's like a military base. That's exclusive jurisdiction. The next flavor is concurrent jurisdiction. And that was the case in North Hampton, Massachusetts, where it could either go federal or state. The jurisdiction is concurrent. And the last one is pretty rare, but it does happen is something called proprietorial jurisdiction, where the state actually has primary jurisdiction.
[00:46:49] And I had one case like that. That's in the book. That's fairly problematic, but in the case of Kristen Gilbert, it was this concurrent jurisdiction. So she was tried in federal court and after that six month trial and the jury came back and found her guilty, then there was a second trial. This is a second, sort of mini trial if you will, just to determine whether she should get the death penalty or not. Because under the federal, or there is a death penalty for committing murder on the territory United States. So the same jury had a listen to an argument as to why she should receive the death penalty. And it was very, very emotional, as you can imagine.
[00:47:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:47:36] Bruce Sackman: Sometimes we forget about the victims' families on these things when we talk about the numbers and all, but just putting the numbers aside, let's talk about the victims' families for a minute. So if you're the family of a victim, at some point in time, you're probably going — your door bell's going to ring and somebody is going to say something like this. "Hi, uh, my name is Bruce Sackman. I'm with the VA Office of Inspector General. We have reason to believe that your father's death may be suspicious at the VA Hospital. Can we have your permission to exhume his body? And do an autopsy on his body." Imagine getting a visit like that, Jordan.
[00:48:19] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:48:19] Bruce Sackman: Imagine getting a visit like that. I must say the families were, "Wonderful." They were wonderful. They were even cases where the families wanted to actually go to the exhumation.
[00:48:28] Jordan Harbinger: I would do that. And I know that that's weird, but I was thinking that I even put it in my notes and I said, "Do people ask to come along?" Do you allow that? It seems like a really weird thing to do, but I'm a weird guy. What can I say?
[00:48:39] Bruce Sackman: We would allow them to go to the cemetery. And when they would go to the cemetery, we would bring them flowers. We were so respectful of them, you know, putting ourselves in their place. And I remember the first time I did this, remember I was a white-collar crime investigator. So the first time I did this, where we're at the grave site and Dr. Michael Baden pulls up in this old Mercedes kind of reminded me of Columbo's car. He gets out of the car and then the backhoe was there. And the backhoe is digging up the ground, digging up the ground, and then there's the coffin.
[00:49:15] They pull the coffin out and of course, there's water all over the place. And then Michael Baden jumps into the gravesite. I said, "What the hell is he doing?" He jumps into the gravesite and he's taking soil samples because he wanted to see if there was arsenic in the soil.
[00:49:31] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:49:32] Bruce Sackman: Because if we're going to say that the person was poisoned by arsenic. The defense is going to say, "Wait a minute, wait a minute. There's arsenic in the soil." And that's what creeped in there.
[00:49:40] Jordan Harbinger: Like natural levels of arsenic that just got into the body.
[00:49:43] Bruce Sackman: Exactly.
[00:49:43] Jordan Harbinger: That's the defense.
[00:49:44] Bruce Sackman: Exactly.
[00:49:45] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:49:45] Bruce Sackman: So sometimes the families, they are, they don't go to the actual autopsy, but they're there. And many times, they're there when we actually return the body, because they want to see that we're very, very respectful. And also we have to identify the body because sometimes coffins can shift over the years. And you think you're digging up Mr. Schwartz, but it's actually not Mr. Schwartz. It's Mr. Greenberg who slided over. And so we have to identify the body and sometimes people are buried with the little articles that identify them. You know, they had a favorite gadget or a favorite pair of shoes or a favorite this. So sometimes that would help us identify.
[00:50:33] Jordan Harbinger: That seems like it would be — look, this is a really weird question, probably a little gross, but I'm curious. How long did bodies take to decompose generally? I mean, not counting the bones.
[00:50:42] Bruce Sackman: It depends on the embalming process and the location.
[00:50:47] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:50:47] Bruce Sackman: When Michael Baden did an autopsy of Medgar Evers. Remember Medgar Evers? The civil rights leader. Okay. He did the autopsy of Medgar Evers. Medgar Evers had been in the ground for years. When that body got shifted up to Albany, New York, from Georgia, for him to do the autopsy, it was in pristine condition. In fact, Michael Baden said he looked better than some of the staff that was actually working there in the morgue.
[00:51:16] Jordan Harbinger: That's horrible.
[00:51:17] Bruce Sackman: And that's because the embalmer put extra amount of embalming fluid in this body and the body was just pristine. So it depends how it was prepared. And it depends on the location. It depends on a lot of other factors. When my team was digging up bodies in Zimbabwe, where Swango had gone for years, the bodies were just put in the ground and sometimes in a sack. So there really wasn't that much to actually see it at that point in time from a scientific standpoint. So it depends on a lot of factors.
[00:51:52] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:51:52] Bruce Sackman: Sometimes they're putting the crypt. So there's no simple answer. It depends on a lot of factors. It's the best answer I could give you.
[00:51:59] Jordan Harbinger: It doesn't smell though, right? It's been too long. If they've been in there for like a few years. Is there like a dead body smell?
[00:52:05] Bruce Sackman: Well, I'll give you an idea of the first body that I saw that we pulled up. You ever see that? Remember that television show Tales from the Crypt?
[00:52:14] Jordan Harbinger: Yes, definitely. Yeah, the crypt keeper.
[00:52:16] Bruce Sackman: That's sort of what it looks like. But the first time I walked in a morgue, you know, that's a real cultural experience because there are relatively fresh bodies there and yeah, they smell. You know, some people have a tough time with that. It's a real cultural experience. I remember walking by one body and the body was cut open and that Y incision that they made and the guts were out. And during the autopsy, Michael Baden would do his autopsy and then he'd hand me the heart. And he says, "Bruce, take a look at this heart. Do you see anything wrong with it?" Oh, I had no idea.
[00:52:54] Jordan Harbinger: How would I know?
[00:52:55] Bruce Sackman: Right. How would I know? And he says, "No, there's nothing wrong with it. So that means that this patient didn't die of myocardial infarction like it says on the bloody death certificate. You know, this patient died of something else." But it's an incredible experience the first time you went in there. Having done many of them after a while, it became like second nature, like anything else.
[00:53:16] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:53:16] Bruce Sackman: But I had assistant US attorneys walked into the morgue, turned around and walked out. They couldn't handle it.
[00:53:24] Jordan Harbinger: What's the oddest thing you found on a buried body? Just of any category. There's got to be something where you remember and you go, "That was in there?" Or "Why did they get buried with that?" Or, "I can't believe we didn't see this."
[00:53:34] Bruce Sackman: Yeah. The strangest thing was a beer can.
[00:53:37] Jordan Harbinger: A beer can?
[00:53:38] Bruce Sackman: Yes.
[00:53:39] Jordan Harbinger: Full can or an empty can.
[00:53:40] Bruce Sackman: No, it was a full can, you know, it was a full can. That's what he wanted to be buried with. I mean, you never know me personally. I'd want to be buried with my cell phone because hey, you never know.
[00:53:51] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. Yeah. Just in case you're not actually—
[00:53:53] Bruce Sackman: Exactly.
[00:53:53] Jordan Harbinger: Hey, it's not over.
[00:53:54] Bruce Sackman: Exactly.
[00:53:55] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, that's a good way to scare your wife if she thinks you're dead and you're calling her like, "Hey, somebody dig me." Oh, this is a little bit too dark. Maybe I should just stop there.
[00:54:03] Bruce Sackman: You know what? We can't lose our sense of humor—
[00:54:06] Jordan Harbinger: That's true.
[00:54:06] Bruce Sackman: —on these cases because they're so horrific and there's so many victims that it would just drive us insane. So even during the autopsies, once in a while, a joke or so we would fly by just to keep things light, because look, what we're doing here. The work that we're doing is so intense and so important. If you lose your sense of humor, I think you'll lose everything eventually.
[00:54:32] Jordan Harbinger: I think that's a good point. And I would like to — I always tell my wife and she hates when I do this, but I say, "Look at my funeral, whatever it may be, you know, knock wood, make sure it's kind of an enjoyable event somehow. Do something, get some good food, watch some funny videos or something like that. I don't want people sitting there feeling depressed because they're already going to do that at home." And she's like, "Yeah, I'm not going to put too much thought into this." But there is something to that, my family is kind of — they tell a lot of stories and things like that at funerals. And sometimes people laugh and then there's always people that say, "How can you laugh at a time like this?" And honestly, it's probably one of the best times—
[00:55:08] Bruce Sackman: I think so.
[00:55:09] Jordan Harbinger: —to tell funny stories about the deceased. Hopefully they weren't murdered, you know, because that does put a little bit of a darker pale on everything.
[00:55:16] Bruce Sackman: Oh. yeah, listen, I mean, nobody was laughing at the sentencing of these people. You know, nobody was laughing at all when the family got up and they talked about dad and how dad had been murdered at the VA Hospital by Kristen Gilbert and the same thing with Swango. You know, the family got up there and they talked about dad and they were pictures of dad in the military and how they thought dad was actually improving at the VA Hospital.
[00:55:43] It was very, very sad, but I'll tell you something that really kind of got to me and my boss at the time, the inspector general, who came down from Washington, DC for the sentencing of Swango. So Swango's sitting there and he gets up and he articulate to the judge on how he murdered these people. And he says, "Well, your honor, I use the epinephrine and I use the paralytic and I murdered these people." And then he sits down and his attorney puts his arm around Swango like, he's a poor victim here. You know, like he's the one that's actually being persecuted by the government. And I thought my boss was going to get up and slug the both of them to tell you the truth, but it didn't happen.
[00:56:27] So an interesting thing at Swango sentencing, Judge Mishler, he gets up and he says something that I have never heard before when he's sentencing Swango. He says, "Dr. Swango, I'm sentencing you to three consecutive five terms without the possibility of parole. Now, if Congress should change the law and grant you parole, your parole is denied in advance." So there's no way this guy is getting out ever, ever getting out.
[00:56:58] Jordan Harbinger: Good. You mentioned he went to Africa. Did he do that because he couldn't practice in the United States? So what did he do? He volunteered over there or something like that, or got a paying job at a hospital in Africa, just because he knew that he could get away with more over there.
[00:57:12] Bruce Sackman: Absolutely. This is what happened. So when I got that call from the chief of psychiatry in Northport, that's what changed my life, I went down there and I interviewed Swango. Now, I didn't have any evidence that he killed anybody, all right. And when I first met him, I tell you, he was a handsome, charming guy. Looks like he just came off the golf course. And I'm asking him about the story that's in the newspaper. And he says, "Oh, this is all a big mistake. It never happened this way, yada, yada, yada." And then I asked him for permission to search his room and then his demeanor changed completely. And he said, "No, this interview is over."
[00:57:53] And I called up the US attorney and she said, "Bruce, you don't have any probable cause for a search warrant. So I can't give you one." Well, the next thing you know, Swango's gone and he goes to Zimbabwe, Africa. And when he was in Zimbabwe, he killed women and children and pregnant women, attempted to kill his landlady. And the way he got caught is — all right, so Swango's gone. And we don't have any evidence that he murdered anybody at the VA Northport, but we do have evidence of every federal agent's favorite crime, false statements against the government. Right?
[00:58:32] Jordan Harbinger: Right. That's the one you go for when other things might not stick, right?
[00:58:36] Bruce Sackman: That's our favorite US Code 1001. If you lie to a federal agent, if you lie on your paperwork to the government, you've committed a felony, a five-year felony, all right. So he has to come back. Swango comes back to the United States to renew his passport. And he gets arrested in Chicago and gets sentenced to jail on the 1001. And that gave us the opportunity to do the investigation that I described before on how we were actually able to convict Michael Swango of murdering patients. And by the way, after he pled guilty to our charge, he also pled guilty to the charge in Ohio State University against Cynthia McGee and all charges were then dropped against the student who hit her with his car.
[00:59:24] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, that's good.
[00:59:25] Bruce Sackman: So there's a happy ending there, but there's another happy ending to this story as well. Because as I said earlier, the purpose of the OIG, the mission of the OIG is not only to do these criminal investigations, but to find out what went wrong in the system that allowed this to happen. My I God, what went wrong in the system to allow us to hire someone who had spent time in prison for poisoning his coworkers? I would say there's something wrong with the system there, right? So as a result of that case, the whole science of medical credentialing improved dramatically, not only at the VA, but throughout the world.
[01:00:09] And now there are teams of people and hospitals that double check and triple check a physician's resume and his licenses and everything that needs to be checked before he comes on board and a large part of that is a result of that Michael Swango case, which is another great outcome to come from that tragedy.
[01:00:35] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Bruce Sackman. We'll be right back.
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[01:00:55] Thank you so much for listening to the show. I know this one is uber creepy. I do appreciate you listening to every episode of the show. I hope you are enjoying it. And by the way, all these deals, all these codes, this slash Jordan, all those things you hear on the show, that's what keeps the lights on around here. We put them all in one place for your convenience. Jordanharbinger.com/deals is where it is. Please consider supporting those who support us. And don't forget, we've got worksheets for every episode. Those are in the show notes. If you want the drills, the exercises, some of the main takeaways discussed during the show, those are always linked in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. And now for the conclusion of our episode with Bruce Sackman.
[01:01:35] What's the hardest thing to prove at trial? Is it that certain drugs like epinephrine can actually kill someone or is it harder to prove that somebody who's a doctor or a nurse could also be the psychotic serial killer? Or is it like an — I would assume it's somewhat of an intent thing, right? Like, "Oh, he gave him epinephrine but he deliberately gave them too much."
[01:01:54] Bruce Sackman: Well, it's sort of all of the above.
[01:01:56] Jordan Harbinger: Uh-huh.
[01:01:56] Bruce Sackman: And this is why medical serial killers go on for years and years until they're finally caught and captured, okay, because it is so difficult. Let me tell you what happened with the Kristen Gilbert case. But the Kristen Gilbert case, the tox lab came back and they said, "Hey Bruce, we found traces of epinephrine in embalmed tissue in patients that should have never been administered epinephrine and they were all her patients." And that's great. So we're ready to go to trial. And then all of a sudden, I get a call from the lab.
[01:02:31] Now this lab, they had previously told me, they said, "Bruce, we have this brand-new machine. It's called the high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometer." Holy cow.
[01:02:42] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, holy cow.
[01:02:43] Bruce Sackman: "How does it work?" "Hey, Bruce, you wouldn't understand, you couldn't understand. Maybe you shouldn't understand. Believe me it works." And that's what we used in Swango. And it was right. But this time they called me up and they said, "Hey, Bruce, you know what? We made a mathematical calculation with our toxicology. So we can't really say it's epinephrine so have a nice trial." Holy cow. But what we were able to do is we were able to show that the deaths were consistent with epinephrine poisoning, even though we didn't have the tox. And of course, we had to disclose that to the defense.
[01:03:20] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:03:20] Bruce Sackman: Even though we didn't have the tox, we were able to show that the deaths were consistent with epinephrine poisoning. That she had access, that she used to actually walk around with an epinephrine pen. That we found books in our house on epinephrine poisoning, a whole slew of other evidence that was presented successfully, but that's the case. The first case with science went bad. The second case, we were not so fortunate. Because this is the only alleged serial killer I'll speak about. And this is a fellow named Richard Williams. All right. Williams was a nurse at the Harry S. Truman Medical Center in Columbia, Missouri.
[01:03:59] And every time he was on duty, you know what happened? The death rate went up. He would take a day off, the death rate went down. What's the cause of death? Well, we went to the machine. "Hey, Bruce, we got this new machine. It's called the high profile." You know the name, right?
[01:04:14] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:04:15] Bruce Sackman: It's succinylcholine. Now, this particular medical center has proprietorial jurisdiction, meaning that it was the exclusive jurisdiction of the state, not of the federal. So there could be no federal prosecution after five years, which would have been a civil rights violation, but this was long after five years. So he gets indicted on 13 counts and then after the science comes back and they say, "Whoops, we made a mistake. We can't really say it's succinylcholine. So have a nice trial." The prosecutor at the time refused to go forward and the charges were dropped.
[01:04:53] Now, interesting thing about Nurse Williams after he leaves the VA, and we actually suspected him of killing about 60 veterans. He goes to a private hospital. Guess what happened in a private hospital? The death rate went up every time he's on duty. He leaves, the death rate goes down. So in fact, one of the families of the victims sues the VA and convinces a judge that Williams actually murdered her father. But, you know, there's a big difference in proof between civil and criminal.
[01:05:26] In a civil case, you only have to show there's a preponderance of evidence. In a criminal case, it has to be beyond the reasonable doubt. And the prosecutor at the time felt that we did not have enough evidence to show that Richard Williams murdered these patients. So he's not in the healthcare world anymore, but he's still out there. And he's the only alleged serial killer. Then I talk about it in the book.
[01:05:52] Jordan Harbinger: Right, so he's working at a Walmart somewhere, poisoning the donuts in the break room or something like that, hopefully not, but you know—
[01:05:59] Bruce Sackman: Hopefully not, but you can imagine—
[01:06:00] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:06:01] Bruce Sackman: I guess every investigator has one case that sticks in his craw. That one still sticks to my craw. And every once in a while I get a really bad PTSD-type flashback about that case. Because in my heart, do I think he murdered these people? Yes, but there wasn't enough proof at the time.
[01:06:19] Jordan Harbinger: You came up with the red flags protocol, which is actually one of those things where I go, "Oh my God, this didn't exist before. No wonder we're having these problems." Can you explain sort of briefly what this is and how you came up with it? It seems — what is this? Is it fair to say it's a list of criteria people should be looking for when we suspect somebody might be up to no good in a medical setting?
[01:06:40] Bruce Sackman: Absolutely. Because one of the things that we wanted to do after the Swago case, because again, we spoke about the mission of the OIG, one of the things we wanted to do is put together red flags so that when situations like this develop and they do develop and they have developed before and since Swango, staff will have an idea of what to look for. So we came up with this red flags protocol that happens to be from A to Z. Things that are common among these cases throughout the world. Like for instance, the first one, the first one is those statistics. That every time Nurse Bruce is on duty, the death rate goes up. Nurse Bruce takes a week off, the death rate goes down. Does that mean that there's Bruce as a serial killer? No, but that means we should start looking. That's all it means that we should start looking.
[01:07:36] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[01:07:37] Bruce Sackman: Another thing, we would say, you know, it seems like most of these people throughout the world tend to work on, well, pardon the pun they call the graveyard shift. And if you've ever been in a hospital at 3:00 a.m. on a ward, you know, there's usually not too much activity. The family's not there and it'd be very easy for a nurse or anyone there to just take that curtain. And putting the curtain behind him and the patient and do something that nobody's going to see, because we don't have cameras because under HIPAA, you know, this Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, you can't have cameras everywhere. So we don't have cameras and we don't really see what's going on, particularly at three o'clock in the morning.
[01:08:27] Another thing is that these serial killers seem very accurate on predicting the time and day of death of a patient. This was really one of the most incredible things to come out of the Kristen Gilbert case. And if you don't believe what I'm about to tell you, I would invite you to Google it, read the newspaper accounts at the time, and see for yourself. We had testimony that Kristen Gilbert went to her supervisor and said, "This patient over here, Kenneth Cutting, if he dies like around 6:15 tonight, can I go home early?" And the supervisor looks at her and says, "What are you talking about? We don't expect him to die. I suppose if he does, you could go home, but we don't expect it." And guess what happened at 6:15?
[01:09:19] Jordan Harbinger: Oh no.
[01:09:19] Bruce Sackman: And she went home early and that's actually part of the trial, if you could believe it. That is actually part of the trial testimony.
[01:09:28] Jordan Harbinger: That's because she wanted to go to dinner with her boyfriend, right? I mean, this, this woman was nuts. In the book, you detail some of the way she harassed her boyfriend and she's just completely — pardon the expression, she's batshit crazy. I mean, she really was. Do a lot of these killers have other mental illnesses or unstable behavior that might give them away or do they just come out of the woodwork and it's the last person you'd expect? Because when you describe Gilbert's behavior, I go, "This person is insane. I wouldn't want her around anybody leave that I know."
[01:10:01] Bruce Sackman: Well, even insane people could disguise their insanity pretty well.
[01:10:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:10:06] Bruce Sackman: And that's exactly what she did. Sure, you know, because when we start these investigations, one thing we do is a thorough, thorough background investigation on the person from the time they were born to the time we're dealing with them now. And we find out all kinds of things. We find out all the time, trouble. They've been like Kristen Gilbert. She started fires. She scalded a young child under her care. She was charged with phoning in a bomb threat. Yeah, there were all kinds of crazy things about her. Staff didn't know that and nobody knows her when they hire you because when you hire person and you go back — unless they have a criminal record, which you may or may not even get a hold of — the prior employer is just going to verify, "Yes, Kristen Gilbert worked from here from this date to this date," period. They're not going to say, "No. You know, she got involved in all these things and we were happy she left." They're not going to tell you any of that at all. So the hiring people don't know. So when we go out and we do a thorough background investigation, and I mean, thorough. We talk to everybody, we start learning that many of these people had trouble things in their background, but none of this comes to light until it's almost too late.
[01:11:21] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Yeah. Because these people aren't exactly sitting in the job interview and they're like, "Ah, what do you say are your biggest weaknesses?" And they're like, "Well, I get a real thrill out of killing people. Is that going to be a problem here in the pediatric ward?" You know, like they're masking this. Although Gilbert had a problem masking it, she just turned out to be too crazy, I think, when she was put under stress. Some of the red flags do seem pretty obvious. Right? Where were they in the ward when the patient died? Okay. Why is this person the last person to see the patient alive in nine out of 10 cases? That's a little bit of a red flag. But some of the other stuff that you list in the book was a little bit more surprising, relationship trouble indicators. Okay, I understand that. But one you mentioned was dress code indicators. What does that mean?
[01:12:06] Bruce Sackman: Yes.
[01:12:06] Jordan Harbinger: Like you don't come to work in your uniform, so you might be a serial killer. Explain that one.
[01:12:11] Bruce Sackman: No, it's. It has to do with odd behavior, usually off duty. For instance, Swango used to love to walk around in his scrubs, even when he was off duty. Now, I know scrubs are comfortable, but he had this bizarre habit of going into the nurse's lounge, lying down on the floor in a prone position and talking on the phone. What does it mean? I have no idea. It was very, very strange. Kristin Gilbert, when she used to respond to a code, she used to come in with a short dress and when sometimes she would actually straddle the patient and the dress would ride up because her boyfriend was there, the VA police officer who respond to the code as well. And there was actually like some grab ass going on during the entire code. All right. And then one year, they had a party and she's dressed very bizarrely. So some of these people have very strange personal habits that may appear or may not appear, but it's something to consider in the big scheme of the 26 red flags.
[01:13:20] Jordan Harbinger: Those both seem like desperate calls for attention, right? He's on the floor, so people have to literally walk around. He's on the phone so he's making noise. He's in the nurses lounge so that he's in somebody else's territory, right? He's not in the physician's lounge where probably many of the doctors are hanging out. I assume there's different lounges for nurses. And that's why it's called that. Right? And her with the dress, this is like some sort of link to where she wants her boyfriend to be seeing her, possibly other people to see her, and it's linked to some sort of kinky, like you said, grab ass — I love that you used that term, by the way. It's just like, these things are all linked in very unhealthy ways that make sense. You know, from somebody who probably has a troubled past these things, the wiring all got burned into place through some trauma or something like that. And it's still there.
[01:14:03] Bruce Sackman: Well, you talk about the need for attention, particularly with Kristen Gilbert. When Kristen Gilbert was on trial, she couldn't wait as she sat in the defendant's seat for the day's newspaper to come in because every day, the local newspapers would have a story about what's going on in the trial. And she just couldn't wait to get our hands on the newspaper to read about herself when she was in prison while this was going on. She's actually writing a book about a nurse that murders her patients.
[01:14:35] Jordan Harbinger: Like she's reading a novel, like a fictional novel about a nurse that murders her patients.
[01:14:39] Bruce Sackman: Right. But perhaps—
[01:14:41] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[01:14:41] Bruce Sackman: —one of the most bizarre things to come out was after she gets sentenced to prison, still searching for that desire for attention. So what does she do? I'm sitting in the office and one of my agents comes in and they say, "Hey, Bruce, have you seen today's New York Post?" "Oh, I didn't see today's New York Post." And there's a headline. And the headline talks about how Kristen Gilbert, medical serial killer, is engaged in a "caged-heat affair" with none other than Squeaky Fromme. Remember Squeaky Fromme?
[01:15:16] Jordan Harbinger: No. What is that?
[01:15:18] Bruce Sackman: Squeaky Fromme was one of Charles Manson's ladies who tried to kill President Ford. Okay. So out of all the prisoners in the prison system where she is, she hooks up with Squeaky Fromme, because she knows that when the word gets out, she'll have more attention to herself. And she'll get a story in the New York Post, which he actually did.
[01:15:42] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, my gosh. So, yeah, so it was just pathological attention at all costs type of stuff.
[01:15:47] Bruce Sackman: Exactly.
[01:15:47] Jordan Harbinger: You mentioned when you're investigating Swango in the book, you said that whenever you sit down for an interview with a potential suspect, you always ask him if they're comfortable at the beginning of the interview. I'm wondering why you do that. You noted something along the lines of, I think you said, "I want him to think more about the cramp in his leg then about what his next lie to me would be." Can you tell us how — what's at work here?
[01:16:10] Bruce Sackman: Well, you know what? There are different skill sets that are used by different investigators. Some investigators are terrific with this Dirty Harry routine. That would not work with me. People would probably laugh if I even tried it. So I've developed more of a Colombo type approach where I want people to want to talk to me. I want people to feel that I'm concerned about them and I realize they may have a problem and they may have something that they want to disclose to me. So I'm certainly the last guy in the world to beat it out of them. I want them to voluntarily tell me, and I liked them to start just talking about themselves.
[01:16:52] Let's say I was talking to you about a fraud case. It'd be a while before we even got to the fraud. We were talking about you. So tell me about yourself, Jordan. Tell me about your life, growing up. Tell me about your schools. Get talking, get talking, get comfortable talking. Be comfortable with me. And then when you're comfortable, sometimes you make little errors and you slip. And then I could say, "Well, 10 minutes ago, you said this, and now you're saying that. So explain to me again what happened." And I've been successful with that technique. Others are very successful with different techniques.
[01:17:27] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. You said you want the suspect to think that you could not imagine that they were guilty. What does that do? Does that kind of remove their defenses? Because they think that you think that they're not guilty. Is that what's going on here?
[01:17:39] Bruce Sackman: Totally. I want people to think that I empathize with them. You know what? They made a mistake. We all make mistakes in life. It's how you handle this mistake. That's going to decide whether you're successful or not going forward. But I understand there are things in your life. That's why we talk about your life. We talk about you growing up. We talk about the hardships you had, so I could understand what happened. So explain to me. Tell me what happened, because I understand where you're coming from.
[01:18:08] Jordan Harbinger: This is really scary, right? You think you're being cared for, you might be getting murdered, but people — we shouldn't worry about this, right? The illogical response that I had in my head after reading it, and this was like, "I'm never going to the hospital." And then two seconds later, this is the dumbest thought I've ever had. We shouldn't worry about this because. I assume we have a better chance of winning. Like I said before, the Powerball lottery twice in a row than we do of being murdered by a doctor or a nurse in the hospital. Give us some good news here.
[01:18:36] Bruce Sackman: The good news is having spent a lifetime doing investigations in hospitals, I mean my entire career, that the overwhelming, majority of healthcare professionals are so dedicated to the work they do, perform miracles every day and should be trusted. But on rare occasions — and I don't really know what the real numbers are. Nobody knows, but on rare occasions, a very, very small number of people throughout the world have taken advantage of that situation to do harm. But the odds of this happening to you are infinitesimal. But it has happened and in every couple of months, unfortunately we read about something like that. But compare that to the number of procedures and visits that occur every day throughout the world, the number is so small, it can't even be measured. So now, I wouldn't worry about it. I don't worry about it when I go to the hospital.
[01:19:33] Jordan Harbinger: I said to a friend of mine when I was telling them about this, I said, "Yeah, the odds are really low." And he goes, "Yeah, you're probably more likely to get murdered by accident than on purpose." And I was thinking, "You know, you're not making me feel any better about this," but it is true. I mean, hundreds of thousands, millions of people go through the hospital system every single year. And it's infinitesimally small numbers. So I always want to wrap with that because I don't want people to be scared to get medical treatment.
[01:19:59] Bruce Sackman: Oh no.
[01:20:00] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is entertaining, it's educating, but I think that if anybody's going to put this into play, it's going to be. A doctor or a nurse listening that goes, "Yeah, there is a weird person who matches some of these red flags and maybe I should just do something, maybe I should mention something to my supervisor, or maybe I should pay attention to these other things. And maybe we can prevent something like this." Because I'm always surprised — you know, the fanbase of the show is really large. I would be surprised if we didn't get a letter from somebody in the next few weeks or months that says that they had an experience with this or that they suspected somebody at work because of all these different red flags. And then they took a look at the red flags protocol and found a bunch more. So that's kind of what I'm hoping to do here with the show. It's maybe, just maybe, root out another potential killer or somebody that's doing this right now.
[01:20:48] Bruce Sackman: And that's exactly what I hope will happen. You know, after the book came out, I got correspondence from some people throughout the world that felt this way. I mean, I've lectured on this topic throughout the world, because these serial killers are not just in the United States, they're all over the world. And in my experience, dealing with whistleblowers for my whole professional career, more often than not when a whistleblower feels that something isn't right, something isn't right. On occasion, you know, we've had one to do that maybe fabricate things, that starting trouble, that have a vendetta that hate their boss or whatever, but that's rare. That's rare.
[01:21:30] The overwhelming times when we actually receive some sort of complaint, it doesn't have to be about serial killers. It's about any crime in the hospital. And a person says, "You know, Bruce, I've been doing this job a long time and something just doesn't seem right." Well, in my experience, they're right. Something isn't right. And that's why these are so important for these people to come forward and let us take a walk. Hey, maybe there's nothing there, but you know, you don't know until you look.
[01:21:59] Jordan Harbinger: Bruce Sackman, thank you very much, very interesting topic. And we'll link to the book in the show notes as well.
[01:22:03] Bruce Sackman: Thank you for having me.
[01:22:07] Jordan Harbinger: I've got some thoughts on this one, but before I get into that, here's a sample of my interview with scam buster, Coffeezilla, whether you or a loved one is being tempted by sketchy investment opportunities, MLM traps, fake guru-led operations, understanding how to identify them and the mechanisms by which they work is the best chance you can have of putting a stop to their shenanigans. Here's a quick look inside.
[01:22:30] Coffeezilla: You see an ad and it's of some guru you've seen before, you haven't seen before. Let's say, Jordan, you're the guru for today. And you tell me, "Oh, come to my free webinar. It's always free." And it's always going to teach me how to get rich. There's no investment that I initially think I have to make. So I go to your webpage. I give you my email and I sign up for this live webinar. It's never live. They've prerecorded. It's a three-hour sales pitch for their $2,000 course.
[01:22:55] And they basically tell you, "Look at all these people who have had success." They will show you the Forbes article that they bought, but they'll not tell you that they purchased it. They'll say, "Hey, look, how successful I am." They put themselves in your shoes. They know that their average buyer is broke, you know, disaffected. Everything he's been trying hasn't worked.
[01:23:13] And they say, "I was just like you. I was where you are. And I bounced around and I made all these mistakes until I found the one secret. And I will tell you that secret to get you from A to Z. It took me five years to get to a million dollars. I'll teach you, Jordan, how to do it. Proven blueprint in one year. I'll take you from loser where I used to be, I used to be a loser like you, and I'll take you to winter where I am now. And I'll take you there. Blueprint, guaranteed. No problem. Look at all the testimonials. Sign up baby. Right, right, right, right now."
[01:23:42] And then they go, "Hey, my course, normally I'd sell it for $40,000. Normally, it's a hundred thousand dollars' worth of value, but just this second for the next 50 minutes, I will give this to you for $2,000." And they're coaching you through the little credit card application.
[01:23:58] Jordan Harbinger: You're on the phone with a credit card company and they're coaching to do this.
[01:24:01] Coffeezilla: You're like sitting there and they're like, "Hey, this is what you're going to say. Go ahead, call them right now. And let's swipe that card, baby. Let's swipe that card before you leave the seminar." They're left with a $40,000 collection debt, you know, for a high interest rate. They can't pay it back. They're not making the money they were promised. And then there's a money back guarantee. There's not a money-back guarantee.
[01:24:20] Jordan Harbinger: To hear more about how to expose predators, the shysters for what they are by delving into their shady manipulation tactics, check out episode 368 of The Jordan Harbinger Show with Coffeezilla.
[01:24:34] Well, that was creepy, wasn't it? By the way Michael Swango, that doctor who's now in a supermax prison, not only did he kill people in the United States, once they started catching onto him and Bruce talks about this in his book, he went to Africa to help treat people who were unable to pay for medical care. And they caught him killing people over there. It took a lot longer. He killed a lot more. They have a lot less infrastructure there. And this guy said, "How dare you? I brought my own drugs to treat people." And of course, what he brought was poison and things that he could use to easily kill people in Africa. He injured many more people. And in Africa, look, if you lose your leg and you're a farmer, your whole family starves, you don't just end up getting a desk job, right? It's just horrible. And the families that were present at Swango's trial told a lot of these, just absolutely heart-wrenching stories that are also detailed a little bit in Bruce Sackman's book.
[01:25:23] Now, these folks are sometimes part con man, part killer. There was another doctor in the book. We didn't talk about this on the show, Dr. Kornak. He wanted to run a research center. And in order to do that, he needed patients that would fit his research study. So he registered tons of patients who weren't a fit for his study because of their condition and many died. This was just a person that probably didn't necessarily get joy that people died, but he just didn't care at all. He had absolutely no regard for the lives of his patients. He just wanted to check boxes off so he could get funding for his research. And of course, look like a big hero for coming up with the research center. I mean, it's so gross. It's so violating.
[01:26:04] Bruce Sackman also, by the way, offline told me that he thinks there are about 2000 murders per year from serial killers that we know are serial killers. These are police statistics, I believe, but Bruce Sackman thinks there are maybe 27,000 more. That we will never label as murders because they're made to look like accidents either inside or outside of the hospital system. Think about that. That's almost 30,000 people a year murdered by serial killers. The vast majority will look like accidents, which is really sad because out there's somebody who thinks that their loved one had an accident or committed suicide, but really they were murdered by somebody and we will never know the truth, which to me is absolutely heartbreaking.
[01:26:48] Big thank you to Bruce Sackman. The book title is Behind the Murder Curtain. Great title. We'll link to that in the show notes. Links to everything will be in the show notes, of course. Please do use our website links if you buy the books from the guest. It does help support the show. Worksheets for the episode are in the show notes. Transcripts for the episode are in the show notes. And there's a video of this interview going up on our YouTube channel at jordanharbinger.com/youtube. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram or just hit me on LinkedIn.
[01:27:16] I'm teaching you how to connect with great people and manage relationships using systems and tiny habits over at our Six-Minute Networking course. That course is free. No entering your credit card. None of that. Go to jordanharbinger.com/course. Dig the well before you get thirsty. Most of the guests on the show, they do help contribute to the course. So come join us, you'll be in smart company where you belong.
[01:27:36] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My amazing team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Millie Ocampo, Josh Ballard, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. If you know somebody who's into true crime, you know, somebody who's got that serial killer bug, no judgements, share this episode with them. I think they'll really dig it. Hopefully, you find something great in every episode. Please share the show with those you care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we'll see you next time.
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