What is a summary of the documentary "Harold Shipman, Doctor Death" (Serial Killer Documentary)? What are the main points?  

Expert Answers
jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This video is about Dr. Harold "Fred" Shipman, dubbed "Doctor Death," who the video describes as "one of the world's most prolific serial killers." The video starts with an English investigator (named Stan Egerton) who starts looking into a forgery case in Hyde, England, regarding a will for an 81-year-old woman named Mrs. Grundy. The deceased's daughter, a solicitor, found out that Dr. Shipman had deceived her mother by telling her mother that she was signing an authorization for a survey, not a will. Dr. Shipman had been the target of an earlier secret investigation about the large number of deaths he had certified, but the investigation was inconclusive. There were other people with suspicions in the community, including the local undertaker and a local taxi driver. 

The video goes back to Dr. Shipman's history at school, including his former rugby playing and the death of his mother to cancer when Fred was 17. Some believe this "early introduction to morphine and death had a lasting effect on Fred." His reaction to his mother's death was bizarre at the time, as he reported that he had gone for a run in the rain in response. He developed a dependence on a highly addictive pain killer in the 1970s and went to court for obtaining drugs by deception and was fined 600 pounds. He obtained the drug by forging prescriptions and oversubscribing, but he underwent treatment and kicked his dependence. He worked at a group medical practice and then took his 3,000 patients to his own practice so that he could "enjoy his secret indulgence--murder," as the video says. 

The investigation into Mrs. Grundy's death found that she was killed by an injection of morphine. Detectives began to uncover a pattern of many women dying at home, dressed in day clothes, shortly after seeing Dr. Shipman. The doctor's computer files showed that he had taken out records or added records to cover up his deadly acts. He had often recorded deaths before they actually happened. The community was in shock as the investigation proceeded and many bodies of the deceased were exhumed. Shipman killed many people for what was described as "paltry sums," but he killed one, Bianka Pomfret, to inherit a great deal of money. Her body, when exhumed, was found to contain a large quantity of morphine, and the police accused Dr. Shipman of the murders of many former patients. 

The video also describes the great lengths Dr. Shipman went to so that he could obtain morphine, including killing the father of one patient who questioned the doctor's treatment of his son. People posit that Dr. Shipman simply killed patients because he no longer wanted to care for them--for no other reason.