Dr. Glen Tucker-The Mad Doctor Of Milwaukee
Dr. Glen Tucker left behind a wake of disfigured patients, a faked death, and a murder suicide.
To his friends and family, Glen Tucker was a loving family man dedicated to helping others who at times fell prone to bouts of deep depression. To some of his patients he was monster who disfigured them without remorse. No matter what opinion anyone has, it’s clear that Dr. Glen Tucker left a scar on Milwaukee in more ways than one.
The early life of Glen Tucker
Glen Tucker was born in 1930. He served in the Army and upon his discharge enrolled at the State University of New York, Rochester. Doing his residences there and at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota then settling in Milwaukee afterwards. There, Tucker began building his practice as a plastic surgeon. In time Tucker had it all. As a plastic surgeon, Dr. Tucker initially worked on burn victims and deformed patients before plastic surgery became a popular vanity procedure. As plastic surgery increased in popularity during the 1970’s, Tucker made a handsome fortune from it.
Then things started to horribly wrong. One by one the malpractice suits began piling up. Thirteen in all by 1982. Horrifying accusations of intentional disfigurement and performing procedures that made his patient’s conditions worse were starting to mount.
The doctor and his tortured patients
Jan Lehman, a Marquette University dentistry graduate suffered a broken nose in 1978 after a freak accident. Lehman was taken to the ER where the on-call plastic surgeon attended to her. It was Dr. Glen Tucker.
Tucker told Lehman her badly broken nose needed immediate surgery. She was given pain killers and prepped for her procedure.
Lehman woke up from the surgery feeling worse than before she first arrived at the hospital. Intense pain was coming from her sinus cavity. Severe black and purple bruising was around her eyes. She knew something was wrong. She wasn’t healing properly.
For a couple of months Lehman visited Dr. Tucker every week where he prescribed more medication. Tucker then convinced her that she needed yet another surgery.
The second surgery was truly nightmarish. Lehman woke from the anesthesia as Dr. Tucker moved her from a prep room to an empty operating room. Lehman, who did dental surgeries knew this was wrong. Operating rooms were always staffed and ready beforehand an operation. Lehman lost consciousness only to wake with electrical tubing in her nose. Tucker reappeared and swiftly pulled it out by hand, tearing out the stitches in the process.
A month passed as she fought through the pain and struggled to breathe. Finally she returned to see Dr. Tucker.
While waiting to be examined, Lehman blew her nose. A large amount of bright yellow puss came out. After telling Tucker this wasn’t right, he smilingly replied that “The tissue is perfectly clear, Jan. You just don’t want to get better.”
This was the moment Lehman caught Tucker in a blatant lie. The tissue was clearly filled with infected yellow puss. Lehman quickly left his office and sought help from a dentist at the dental college where she worked who then took her to a colleague. While examining Lehman, he was horrified to find the gauze Tucked in her nose months before, festering with infection. To make matters worse for Lehman, Tucker began following her. Lehman then quickly fled to Texas.
Lehman has spent the years after dealing with disfigurement and suffering due to Dr. Tucker’s “procedures.”
Jan Lehman wasn’t the only one who suffered at the hands of Glen Tucker. There was the man who was suffering from spasms in his arm. Tucker’s surgery on the man was so bad that he lost the use of his arm and later had to be amputated. Then there was the woman who needed surgery to remove loose skin after losing over one hundred pounds. Tucker botched things so bad she need thirteen more surgeries to correct his work. Yet another woman went to Dr. Tucker for breast augmentation. Her breasts became infected like Jan Lehman’s nose. Tucker botched her procedure so badly that one of her breasts became square shaped. At one point a nurse had to stop Tucker from using a needle on her without anesthesia.
As the malpractice suits started piling up, the hospital began an internal investigation. Then in a strange turn of events three days later, Dr. Glen Tucker drowned during a fishing trip on Lake Michigan.
Or did he?
Glen Tucker left his home for one of his usual Sunday morning fishing trips. He never returned. His wife, Joan, called 911 and his canoe was found overturned along the Lake Michigan shoreline. The Coast Guard searched the lake for 24 hours but found no remains. On the shore, law enforcement found his washed up jacket and a raft that had slits cut into it hidden under a pile of brush. There was also a report made by a friend of the Tucker’s that he had seen Glen walking along the road hours after he’d been reported missing. Even law enforcement weren’t 100% satisfied that a drowning occurred. The cop who had found the jacket and raft even stated in his report that “If the guy wants to leave, it isn’t a crime.” Glen had yet to be charged with any crime and disappearing wasn’t against the law.
His wife Joan held a memorial service for glen six days after his disappearance. At the service, Glens brother Ross speaking at the funeral, stated that “Glen has disappeared before. He may have done it again.” Indeed, Glen ran away from home prior to his years in the Army and did not speak to his family for seven years.
Six Months after Glen Tucker’s funeral service, his wife sold their Fox Point home and left Wisconsin.
Reporters uncover the truth
In 1984, Art Hackett, a producer and journalist with Wisconsin Public Television, began an assingment to report on hospital infections. During his research at the Patient Compensation Panel, an administrator pointed Hackett to Dr. Tucker’s case files. Hackett recalls the administrator telling him “Now, that case might be interesting. Boy, it’s strange. This guy has been sued a whole bunch of times, but he drowned in Lake Michigan. Thing is, everyone says he’s still alive,”
Hackett with the help of David Patrick, an investigative television reporter, began researching Tucker’s drowning and found out even law enforcement doubted Tucker drowned. They also heard stories that Tucker was in Florida. One of the nurses Dr. Tucker had worked with claimed she had seen Tucker in Miami. Hackett and Patrick began searching for any trace of Glen Tucker, to no avail. They then decided instead to check into the whereabouts of Glen’s wife, Joan.
They found her in the Florida Keys. After cross referencing her forwarding mail address with property records, they discovered the property was sold in 1982 to a Martin Tucker. A phone call was made to the residence but the male that answered the phone said there was no Glen Tucker living there. David Patrick along with a cameraman decided to pay a visit to the ‘Martin Tucker’ home.
They didn’t find a ‘Martin’ Tucker. Instead they came face to face with Glen.
Patrick and the cameraman knocked on the door of the residence of ‘Martin’ Tucker. Glen Tucker himself emerged from the garage. “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated” he told the newsmen. Astonishingly, Tucked invited them inside. At times during the conversation Tucker made jokes. At other times he was seemed incoherent. When asked why he faked his own death Tucker replied “I was fed up and sick with the whole mess up there.” Tucker then explained with a lack of remorse “I have done the best that I think I could. Although it may not seem ideal to you or to others, it was the best, perhaps, that I could arrange.” Tucker, when recalling the oncoming investigation chillingly told Patrick “The temptation to kill Levy (the Columbia Hospital chief who opened the investigation) was huge,” Tucker then gave Patrick this one final dark statement “If I get driven too far into a corner, if it got to the point where life was no longer worth living, then I would not want to go alone.” They would later learn after this encounter that Martin was the name of Tucker’s cat.
A murder suicide
After leading a relatively quiet life together. Joan became a real estate agent and Glen worked odd jobs. In 2003 Joan died. Distraught, Glen began using an online dating service where he found a woman also named Joan. The two married in 2005 and the couple seemed quite happy together. Then Joan suffered a paralyzing stroke in 2010 pushing Tucker into a deep depression. In May of 2011, a neighbor hears gunshots coming from inside the Tucker’s home. He tries to enter the home but the door is locked. Glen comes to the door. He asks the neighbor what he’s doing. The neighbor replies he’s calling the cops. Tucker says “don’t call the cops.” Tucker disappeared back into his home. More shots are heard inside the house then silence. Glen shot his wife five times, his cat twice before turning the gun on himself.
Days before the shooting a neighbor had an encounter with the deeply troubled Tucker who confessed to him “When life gets unbearable, I’ll be gone.” “What about the cat?” he asked Tucker. “I’ll do it first” was Glen’s response.
What Dr. Tucker left behind
After years of wrangling through Wisconsin’s notoriously complicated malpractice system that leans heavily in favor of doctors, Tucker’s victims all finally reached settlements. Many were settled for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Jan Lehman herself only settled for one thousand. She reportedly stated she just wanted her ordeal over.
Glen Tucker never payed out a dime. He was never arrested for any crime.