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Crime

‘Dr. Death’: Texas Neurosurgeon Gets Life in Prison for Botched Surgery

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A Texas neurosurgeon accused of intentionally botching multiple spinal surgeries, resulting in the death of two people and the paralysis of two others, was sentenced to life in prison on Monday, PEOPLE confirms.

Christopher Duntsch, 46, was convicted last week of first-degree felony injury in one of those instances: a botched 2012 surgery involving 74-year-old Mary Efurd who lost a third of her blood and the use of her leg, according to the Dallas Morning News.

“I trusted him,” Efurd earlier testified, according to the paper. “I trusted that he would do what was right.”

During the three-week trial the jury heard testimony about how Duntsch — nicknamed “Dr. Death” in the press — regularly misdiagnosed patients, performed unnecessary surgeries and botched several operations.

One patient testified that he woke up paralyzed from the neck down after an operation performed by Duntsch. Another patient told the jury that she almost died from an infection after a botched neck surgery.

Duntsch was charged in 2015 with five counts of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury and one count of injury to a child, elderly or disabled person.

Dallas County Sheriff's Department via AP

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His medical license was revoked in December 2013 after the Texas Medical Board found that he had a pattern of failing to follow proper medical procedures.

Dallas police said in a search warrant affidavit obtained by The Dallas Morning News that Duntsch “knowingly takes actions that place the patients’ lives at risk.”

The affidavit citied one patient who hemorrhaged so badly that she died. In another case, the doctor allegedly left a surgical sponge inside a man’s body.

An email was submitted into evidence at a previous hearing where Dutsch allegedly wrote in a 2011 email to an employee that “I am ready to leave the love and kindness and goodness and patience that I mix with everything else that I am and become a cold blooded killer,” according to The Dallas Morning News.

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Duntsch’s attorney argued that Duntsch did not act maliciously and that he was just a “bad surgeon.”

“He is unskilled,” defense attorney Robbie McClung tells PEOPLE. “He should not have been operating.”

McClung says Duntsch feels remorseful for his actions.

“He is extremely remorseful about everything that happened and is extremely broken up by his hand in everything,” she says. “He can’t undue what he has done and now he has to live with the ramifications of the sentence.”