In this special follow-up episode to the first season of Dr Death, Laura Beil revisits the story of Christopher Duntsch’s best friend. When Jerry Summers needed surgery, he turned to his best friend. But the two buddies ended up living two very different realities. And after becoming paralyzed as a result of his botched surgery, Jerry is finally ready to open about what he went through, who he blames, and what he wants to say to Chris now. If you haven’t already, listen to the first season now, particularly the episode called “Chris and Jerry.” Tap here to see a picture of Jerry with his dog, Stella.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
In May two thousand Levin Jerry Summers was driving down Humphreys Boulevard in Memphis flood metals- and there is- a lot of water in the area, the right of the flooding under Mississippi mighty river is still rising. Tonight is expected to quit. The worst flood in three generations had caused the waterways feeding the Mississippi River to swell over their banks, Jerry sitting at a red light. Looking in the cities devastation, he The floodwaters around him his neck was giving him trouble employed for border four thousand different, gave a net. was already a little off track. Save lives the light changed Jerry's
DR, but he was distracted and he didn't see that the car in front of him was still stalled. Swerved wardrobe, the guy sure I was about all of this. The impact on my neck is responding copy, wore his arms went numb Jerry. To the hospital and was released the same day, but the pain didn't go away. In fact it spread there could lift my right arm Bob shoulder you, no doubt sharp shooting down in it. He tried to get his neck operated on in Memphis, but couldn't find a doctor to do it. Finally, he God help his closest friend in the world, Doktor Christopher Dunce, who Happened to be a spinal surgeon it is a big guy. Almost six foot, five at one point
he was pushing two hundred and seventy five pounds growing up. He found his place in sport. I was in the school guy school with a cool to me. I love. I love football basketball boxing. Any kind of sports without with the kids kept me out of a lot of trouble gave him. Family have always been just the title guy who travel from my family there, my family court does what it is. Your family and we ve played gone to school together, played on a field, net blood, sweat and tears. Feel court with the guys in for my family and that's how Kristen twice family Crucial Roger was Europhile five rule for free riders. My family, my circle of friends, will fight for you in one of them
things that people have told me about you, a quality you have is loyalty and for those who have been to me, don't remain crucial. You about my family in two thousand. Eleven Jerry and Chris were practically inseparable, but today, therein very different places, Chris is serving a life sentence in a Texas prison cell. Jerry has in a wheelchair, able to move at all since the day His best friend perform surgery on him Jerry has had years to think about what happened, and why and now, he's ready to talk about it. Doctor deaf season, two's pleased to have simply safe, as our presenting sponsor, there's almost always arise and break ins during the holidays. It's why simply
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From wondering unborn deal, and this is a special of episode of doktor death? Since first season of doktor death we ve received hundreds of tips about doctors who have abused our medical system. I still get it every week on sea Two will be telling a story: that's come up often about a doctor in Michigan who manipulated the system in a terrifying fashion and got away with it for years, but in this field special episode. We have an update on the story of Chris for damage from the man who was once his those his friend, this episode, called love and loyalty today Jerry Summers is fifty years old he's almost completely paralyzed from
neck down, he can't move, but he can feel pressure of needle sticks, the pain of infections. He told me he said like his body is trapped under a house he's able to move around with the help of a power wheelchair and he can work is found. with his voice. You need to get at very low prices John Cairo back. Ok, I'm doing Parkhurst are aware. He can turn on his big screen. Television, usually flipping through the channels to find a basketball or football game, but he can't get by without constant caregivers and Stella still got Stella just regards for Christmas. three years ago before yours discretion.
Stella Chihuahua Mix she spent. Four days mostly curled up in his lab and Jerry don't sooner. Assign, hangs in his window. That says who skewed, who He lives in a high rise apartment, close enough to downtown Memphis to hear the city traffic below is window and his health struggles continue. He recently had his left leg amputated to help alleviate the pressure sores caused by sitting in his chair he's. so do to lose his other leg, the first season of doktor dead. I visited Jerry wanna do are recorded interview, but early. this year I got an unexpected message from him. He wanted to talk. I Jerry start off easy. Just say your name and the cap sentences that you would use to describe yourself
Jerry Summers, ready for action and a little bit of your background went to grow Ben and when a bit about your family, my group and moves to the sea and, more specifically in Frazier and all around Memphis. My mom is forty. She got pregnant, my dad was fifteen Frazier. Was there all the time and we live there till I was round. Sarah five six and I think, we've moved around law because she was a single mother and she was working jobs that no required I work hard and long hours. She didn't have once of an education to fall back on. It was for the struggle for dairies, mom never had much money, but with the help of some one, his grandmother knew she managed to get Jerry into a private school
evangelical, christian school or easy s. Even if Jerry's home was not as privileged as a lot of his classmates. He didn't feel out of place a group of girls, girls. bill with me for a long time and accepted me for whatever whoever was solely revolving France for a long time of gone too school with same guys for twelve years and download. Since I was in either kindergartner first grade and one of those guys was class action Chris dance came too easy. Ass, an junior high over at school or normal, failed, or we have well fills, be blamed for war, reboot, soccer freeway He really good athlete after high school when, after college out of state, but he came back to Memphis, where his dreams of playing football fizzled he and Jerry we connected and Chris
had a new life plan, then he drew back. I lived with her grandmother, and now you tell me at some point time around there that he wanted to go into the medical field. I'd say that Christian Jerry had different approaches to life. I was wrong go and what arouse don't play? Basketball. Current. Do another says he was driven. He was working hard. He was studying stating our council powers like twenty plus hours of some. bastard working as a bartender emerging as a browser paying his own cars over his own car insurance pay for everything he was driven like that one thing they did have in common partying tripped authors? From the ages of eighteen to twenty eight regards have totally parties and Chris was working at a popular bar and while
was busting his tale at various jobs and school. Jerry is finding a different way to make ends meet. Now I have to ask you because other people have said this is new. were also involved with drugs. During that time is that is that true studied. I guess about when hours. Twenty one at that summit that you feel like you can talk about now sure I'm from talking about well, our downtown and bills treated the waistcoat blue city, careful back. Then there was pretty wild of crazy bills. Tree was a crazy shit and so we need to get drugs and we hung out all night and becoming fed drug to stay up all night and that's what we did. I've been around drugs, my whole life, I was involved with selling drugs in Chris and I drink beers. I remember one time Chris and I dropped the hit.
We were about nineteen years old and mirrors driving down his first way and I was driving. We do go ahead of acid. After that Greece was busy. Collating the plot Jerry says that Chris didn't like the fact that Jerry had gotten in so deep. Chris wanted me to get away from a large, starved. I've got it. while Jerry was working and dealing drugs on the side Christmas. his way through residency in neurosurgery and a prestigious fellowship, and even started a stem cell biotech company through their always. So he dreamed of cancer. True, save the world of chargers or whether the Nobel Peace Prize, Did he hire you to go to work for him because he wanted to try to get you out of selling drugs
the drug same. Did he do that? For you to try to help you? You did. He gave Jerry work, helping him set up his lambs and doing whatever Chris needed to get done and Jim We re paid the loyalty one night they were at a Memphis bar together and a guy. They both knew was hounding Chris. I was just he was jobs increase Chris always heard a lot of pretty girls. I'm sorry man to meet him because of his status this guy was giving Chris a hard time, so Jerry he stepped in June putting on the ground- and I need to leave Chris Alone- and Chris is my guy to take my guys.
by the time Chris was offered a high paying job with a surgery practice in Dallas. He ends they were so close that Chris couldn't imagine living without him. in his room in his office I ll soon be going to Dallas and about balance would be a great place to go to also wanted me to go. Them before that he wanted. He worried sick Alan's. His whole team we like and ourselves show entourage curse. Will our Adrian Green, Green gables, It was, I was, I start, your take us somewhere What was your impression of Dallas when you got there? The baby, just by peaceful, there's a lot of money, a lot of new money on new growth potential My answer to
Tori House, very nice home not far from Moscow airplane out tax jerry was there to help Chris setting up Christmas House an office marketing. Spread the word that there was a new neurosurgeon in town when Christian asked with his partners at that first place in Dallas, moved on Jerry, Ask too many questions through were to bear that Belarus, gotten white medical Center or Bailey Plano a hospital in Plano a sub. North of Dallas. Are you ok vlog dad and we another clan again rated at Baylor Chris. When I heard a media blitz of hospital, and there was talk getting crashes on billboard right next to them hospital. He was gonna be on the side. The award of, time, while he helped establish christen, Dallas hauling boxes helping to get him set up
Jerry was still dealing with the pain from those years of football and from that car accident during the flooding in Memphis Chris. Had given Jerry and honest job. Jerry looked out for Chris, like a brother and now Chris, is going to help him again this time by fixing the pain in his neck, an arm once and for all scored a fish farm work for me exploited I see the earth he put his finger one back injury wherever you go to the store go ahead and the other skeletal system in his office and talked about. It will be over and over again hunted. tell you. I had a time what the risks were. You do you do you told me that the written word should be penalised, In February, two thousand twelve Chris operated on Jerry so then. What's the first
you remember after you, woke up, wake up and not be able to move and filling a feeling of love just video to move to move and not legal, lift a fish Not moving dots television we know the The holidays can be a rough time, and this year even more difficult, so much has disrupted its understandable if you're feeling off center, but if it's more than that, if your own field are overwhelming you it's time to talk better help is therefore you and her help will assess their needs and match you with your own licence, professional therapist someone you
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poor group of kids in Harlem in the eighties. Their dream would change pop music forever, I'm so Roger be handsome, and when I was growing up in Deasey there was a new sound. We will all listening to but it was a little bit of army and a little bit of her up and you couldn't help. But shake your booty to it. We just different special, and we wouldn't let go it's a story of friendship. and what it cost is right before you sing the hollow shot in the whole crowd splits like the Red Sea. Wondering, and universal musical present checked rise up the new tax on apple podcast ratifying the wondering or wherever you get your car tax.
in the time leading up to Jerry Surgery, Jen four Miller was dating Jerry, long distance going back and forth, but in Memphis and doubtless to visit each other. You may Member Jennifer. She was an episode too of the podcast. is paralegal in downtown Memphis law. Firm, who'd gotten to know both Jerry and Chris. Pretty well, is six months before his surgery, which was when he was moving to. Doubtless he had told me He had been in love with me for about ten years and on its merits. When Jerry told her that he was going in for surgery they hadn't. he's seen each other in over a month She moved her next flight to Dallas earlier, so she could be therefore him they wanted together. Could see how nervous and careful Jerry was at the rest. painted in drink. He didn't smoke and after
a they went home and went to ban them. next morning, Jennifer took him to the hospital and then wait for the surgery to finish While she was waiting, she started scrolling through Jerry's phone and discovered something that pester off had been texting with other women. On his warm and in saying I know this this and this and something you know things are, What bulgarian she! So, please don't leave Dallas and leaving their. I, like our world was like in all wait for him to get out of surgery and in getting this venison it and things like that. Rentals. I can Allina wave leave on Sunday as like. It's not that to talk to him about. You know what I know, but Jennifer break up with him after the surgery, because Jerry woke up a different man
I opened my eyes, could not move in a day for wired. My mouth, I was sure, injures total shock that Acta Hospital in Crass sad Jerry, had lost a lot of blood during surgery, but he would be fine. He wasn't asking you and crass ended up. taken him back in the surgery around midnight hour member, be in back of the house that no eight Maybe around ten p m increases like the swell he's not going down in the spinal cord, and I need to alleviate the pressure. I was crying for. a vaguely. Remember or the nurses or some other telling me: what's this temporary and come back in a river. Some
What are you telling me there, and so Chris would come in and like your test, Jerry's feed and do the reflex task and other staff and injury was very calm with grass at the time he was always calm with grass. He was like yelling at Chris, or anything like that and- and Chris was like- I was just temporary- it's just temporary. This one's gonna go down with shit away she away, and how often was he coming to see you well you gotta, keep in mind when you asked me to a question that I was not sleeping. Days, even now, when I go into the hospital- I don't sleep for days and when you don't sleep for days and they're pumping you full of narcotics to make you get sleep and you don't sleep, you have a hallucination hallucinogenic vines and
It's it's refuses, you do you remember any of the conversations with crass. I remember him time. There's gonna be ok that I was gonna game. A move back. The benefits will be ok that you'll be ok, but I began to realize others are beginning to realise, and I knew that there was a case jerry was annulled by all the medication going days without sleep. He was lost confused. but one thing was becoming clear to him. I, the issues that it wanted. See you enough. He wanted to talk to cress as a doctor and a friend or said you'd better time. go down here, I'll. Tell me rejuvenate balls containers, which was not I don't remember what with slavery was, but
Some kind of stable was may justly I'm down there in my face, I want to ask you: what's going on what exactly happened, what exactly is going to happen and I was getting those answers. eventually Jennifer with the help of Jerry's mom got a second opinion for Jerry. It will, until a new doktor, a doctor, o Brien performed another surgery that Jennifer find We understood how much Chris had screwed up. Doktor Braun was explaining what he found when he got into this now, and he said there was a lot of packing materials that you used to stop the bleeding still in this honour or that the wrong hardware was
There was no hardware to support his neck and there. In other words, she learned that there was very little tissue connecting Jerry's head to the rest of his body, and I remember Chris telling me that he was gonna have to go back in and put the hardware in and Doktor Braun had built like metal cages to replicate the disc, and he said that not only would he not walk again, he would never make it out of a nursing home if he lived. How did you react to this conversation? I was in shock, I was. I was pretty much in shock the whole from the first surgery, the days are just a boy. Jerry was transported back to Memphis in an ambulatory van here, and two months every have handed in a nursing home and he was only forty.
Two years old, my best friend there was a guy who why Spongebob Square parents all day long use the bathroom oneself and my best friend say ninety plus you're, a lady who had explained to her Every day I was again Jerry struggled he moved on from the nursing home to various friends houses. He tried recapture his own life reconnecting with them Memphis live music scene, but it was hard actually Jerry moved into his own apartment. Christmas still calling him from time to time reached out sixty times during this period, Jennifer remembers Jerry talking decrease to. I remember and harm at our friends house. Jerry was in
corner on the phone. He had a speakerphone and he can you no call people he could give commands, and- and this was before all the voice activated stuff really has- you Know- become so prevalent because it was hard to find devices for him at that time. But he was able to make phone calls and receive from halls were just his voice in our member states in the corner on the phone with grass, and he was kind and Chris was crying it was all juries, Bangala ruins bakery getting here. All this conversation, Edna is no private life and now in in use, printing press jerry says every time they spoke Christine positive and upbeat be restored heading in is heading in the right direction? These things were going good and even Toby couplet. You know you, if you ever want to come back and come back to the Dallas and live with me, I will take care of you.
Jerry came away from those calls with complicated feelings that he's had to process for years. Bears fruit a little light on the phone call really really call before, because he ate in a that He ever made any wrong move. He honestly bar may still take. I dont know that he did the best job do back when Jerry gave us deposition to the Dallas prosecutors for the criminal case against Christopher Dance. He struggled
even talk about Chris. How do you feel about Cresty faith at this difficult for you to talk about but by the time he reached out to me He was ready to get some things off his chest. A few words from a story can take you anywhere
Take you too far away lands to find a dragon or fly with the last boys from wondering I'm Robin. and I'm Virginia. That's in this. it's a little stories everywhere. Every week we will. Ring you, some of the most magical, adventurous, fantastical children stories ever told preparing December first, with some classic holiday tales subscribe on Apple pie, asked Spotify: Wherever you listening right now join one reply in the wandering app to listen ad free. more than a year after Jerry Summers failed surgery, Christians call Jerry, does they hand his girlfriend Wendy were coming to Memphis crews. Aren't you me? He said He wanted to bring buys soon they were in town. They are coming in
to be worth his attorney. He followed Starbucks, shallow and see me you for me see I sign that visit liked. It demand Tellin me sure, a little bit the strange. I don't feel even while he was We changed our confirm to Jerry noticed that Chris was no longer the athletic handsome guy had always known drew way, appeared to sobered him for all his whole. values dress. He brought his son inside but Wendy, the car, the whole time stayed for babies our and and he city did you go in the always.
Along? He always thought that he's gonna make things better Even then, Chris left it was done ass time. Jerry would ever see him so in the deposition, you said you didn't know how you felt about crass even want to talk about. It then You ve had a lot of time now to think about that. Do you feel like talking about it now, another everyone knows, we knows type person I am, and if someone were to ask me how I felt about someone, I don't wanna talk about it.
I would just shrug my shoulders or say I don't know, and that would be the internal to give, but I love Chris and another. Chris loves me and another Chris has love in his heart. You know people who are listening to this not understand that that might be hard for them to understand that kind of love? That kind of friendship. What kind of the world needs is love me. Some more friction like the new initial love in the world today, you shouldn't be hard to understand.
You tell me only talked earlier that you had listened to the podcast. How hard was that for you to do what something that you wish people wouldn't know about Chris, that you now the fact that he is a loving carrying the village very hard worker. so is that why the Pied cast was hard for you to listen to because You heard other people talking about him and you wanted to defend him. Producers the familiar now, that's all about love, that's all about haven't got your heart,
love for some more paralyzed chopped off One of the reasons I started working on this story was because I didn't feel like everyone involved in this tragedy had been held accountable. Chris done has he's lost his freedom likely for the rest of his life but along the entire path of his career? There were people who could have taken his scalpel away for good and never did He sailed through residency and fellowship in Memphis. He bounced around from one location to another in Dallas, leaving a trail of injured and dead patients did any
One who knew the crystal was dangerous, feel any responsibility for what had occurred today. Have any regrets, not one person up to this point has ever told me: they felt sorry when you think about what happened to those people Do you think there is anything that anyone could have done to protect me? Jerry are you? Ok If you need to stop it tell me loud applause. Smaller is every day
first time I heard sincere deep remorse came from the one person close to Chris, who did not know the depth of his incompetence until he too became a victim of it. There are true stop over for a start. I run a curse. One time arrived before we were leaving are. He was leave now I was trying to get him leave. Is Housman mistakenly was just how said. She was gonna, be homesick enough from various house. Never saw long and yet wasn't it was begun. He knew tat. He was ready to leave and I look back on that now. I think that now, because our- room saying one eye his job in Dallas and he was post. Believing
he said I'm not ready to go, and I was thinking he was not ready to go because he was not one believed his house, but now they come back, he may have been not wanting to go because He wasn't ready, but even if Jerry had spoken up that day, I don't it would have made a difference. Chris, his own inflated ego meant that he had to be forced to stop I dont know caress, but from what I do know, situation. I dont know that you, even you could have stopped him. I just might I just want you to know that very sorry for those people. Jerry told me he did recognise Christmas. Arrogance also referred.
This cruise, her Kristen our whole lot affirm Sierra whole lot of people there won't be. Is A whole lot of friends really care. Why do you think that is where he was confident self, a little too confident his arm as one more very always used to tell him was my favorite. In the Bible was. in the Bible was Isaiah. Forty seven needs to talk about There are forty seven he memorized smart just talks about if you're too, over competence. You will one day be lying naked in the street and you'll be ashamed. Car wall of shame One day will leave you negative street? Do you think that was the biggest downfall was has ever competence
How does one over the other one? He ran into a group of men that worth Karelian, I assume, because I wanted money sound I just have one last question: if Chris, if you could say Chris again face to face What would you say to him eleven. Yeah Through reporting this entire saga, I've been constantly disarmed by the capacity for forgiveness. I've seen in some of the people have been heard the most, They ve shown me how resilient the body and heart can be
and may be, none more so Then Jerry Summers went dairy. Thank you sharing all that you have today on season two of doktor death, a new series on the crimes of a doctor in Michigan named for reed fatter. It was like the most excruciating pain, I ever felt my life millions permit of dollars in revenue to that hospital was derived from Doktor Fatah the right in the eye, Ngos. You know exactly what this is about, the only advice that I'm gonna give you is in a court of law. The jury will convict you
from wondering this is a special update episode of doktor death. If you'd like to see Photo of Jerry and his dogs Della click on the link. In the episode description, if you want to help us spread. The word please give us a five star raining and the review on Apple pie, cats and be sure to tell your friend subscribed an apple podcast Spotify, the wondering app or wherever your listing right now doktor death season, one was written. Reported and hosted by me, Lord Beale, assist producer is Chris Siegel fact. Checking by Jaclyn quality national production. Assistance from Daniel Gonzalez manage producer is not the panacea. Sound design by Jeff Schmidt, a specialty to air and o day for her assistance. With this interview are exempt producers are George Lavender Marshall Lily and her Nan Lopez for wondering in case you haven't,
Third, wonder he's got a new many series coming your way: jacked rise of the new Jack Sound and over at american innovations. were celebrating its arrival with our own music themed episode about a controversial invention. Ok to clue Its currently used in ninety nine percent of all number one hits, and it's been ranked among especially those agent, Orange and DDT as one of the twentieth century is worst inventions. Can you guess it's Auto tomb. Listen to american innovations and jacked rise of the new Jack sound on Apple podcast or Spotify, or listen ad free by joining wondering plus in the wonder he up.
Transcript generated on 2020-11-25.