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December 14, 1994

The Strange Case of Dr. Kappler: The Doctor Who Became a Killer

Author Affiliations

George Washington University School of Medicine Washington, DC

 

by Keith Russell Ablow, 215 pp, $19.95, ISBN 0-02-900161-7, New York, NY, The Free Press, 1994.

JAMA. 1994;272(22):1796-1797. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520220092040

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Abstract

On April 14, 1990, Dr John Kappler, an anesthesiologist retired on disability, deliberately drove his car onto a running path in Cambridge, Mass, where he struck Dr Paul Mendelsohn, a psychiatric resident, inflicting injuries that were later responsible for Mendelsohn's death. Kappler continued to drive along the pathway until he came upon and struck a second victim, Deborah Brunet-Tuttle, severely injuring her. The Strange Case of Dr. Kappler is an account of Kappler's behavior and what preceded and followed it. The author is Keith Russell Ablow, a journalist and psychiatrist, who was a good friend of Mendelsohn. It was written without the cooperation of, and indeed against the opposition of, Kappler and his family, "from interviews, published articles, court transcripts, and medical records."

Dr Ablow has produced a work that is interesting enough to be almost a page-turner, and which, in addition to the story it tells, reveals some of

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