Saturday, July 15, 2000

Ex-doctor linked to death of Ohioan

He's accused of poisoning patients

The Associated Press

        NEW YORK — A woman who died in Ohio in 1984 while recuperating from being hit by a car while bicycling may have been poisoned by a former doctor who was charged this week with killing patients at a Long Island hospital.

        The driver of the car was convicted of reckless homicide in the young woman's death, and his mother now hopes his record will be cleared.

        Michael Swango, 45, is implicated in a string of patient and co-worker poisonings after his graduation from Southern Illinois University Medical School in 1983.

        A federal indictment this week charged Mr. Swango only in three New York deaths, but it also alleges that Mr. Swango gave Cynthia McGee, 19, a fatal injection in January 1984 when he was a resident at Ohio State University Hospitals in Columbus.

        She was there recuperating from an accident two months earlier in Champaign-Urbana, Ill., where she was attending the University of Illinois and was on the gymnastics team. She had wanted to return to Ohio, her home state, during her recovery.

        After Ms. McGee died, Scott Bone, the driver of the car that struck her bicycle, was convicted of reckless homicide. Mr. Bone, then 17, was sentenced to 30 months of probation and 1,000 hours of community service and lost his license for several years.

        Attempts to reach Mr. Bone in Illinois were unsuccessful Friday. But his mother, Judy Bone, told the Columbus Dispatch that she hoped her son's record would be “wiped clean” if Mr. Swango is found to have killed Ms. McGee.

        Dr. Patrick Fardal, Franklin County deputy coroner, performed the 1984 autopsy on Ms. McGee that concluded she died of pneumonia. Dr. Fardal said Friday that the coroner's office is awaiting the indictment material from the New York grand jury. The case will not be reopened unless there is new evidence, he said.

        Mr. Swango spent 30 months in jail and lost his medical license in 1985 for the nonfatal poisoning of six co-workers in Quincy, Ill.

        He was later sentenced to prison for lying about his criminal record on an application for a medical residency. He was days from completing a 42-month prison sentence in that case when Tuesday's indictment was announced. It charges Mr. Swango with killing three patients at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Northport in 1993 by injecting them with toxins.


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