After an hour after walking home from the hospital where she worked, neurologist Dr. Autumn Klein was back at the hospital (UPMC Presbyterian) in its emergency room. She had collapsed in her kitchen. When she was wheeled into the ER, she was gasping for breath. Her heart stopped three times. What had happened to her was a mystery to the team trying to get her to breathe again. Her husband Bob Ferrante, a successful medical researcher, told the doctors that she had been taking fertility treatments, hormone injections, with hopes to have a second child–but nothing had worked. Yet those treatments couldn’t have accounted for Klein’s collapse. After three days, they turned off the breathing machine.
Dr. Klein’s personal journal reveals that she was angry with her husband for not supporting her fertility treatments. (She was 41, he 66. They had a six-year-old daughter.) She was considering leaving Ferrante, and he was suspicious that she was having an affair. Two days before Klein’s death, Ferrante bought cyanide with his medical lab credit card. A jury found Ferrante guilty of first-degree murder. He allegedly laced an energy drink he gave Klein. But Ferrante said the cyanide he bought was for “stem cell experiments he was conducting on Lou Gehrig’s disease, because the toxin can be used to kill of neurological cells and thus simulate the disease in the lab.” He will spend the rest of his life in prison. Dateline NBC will air a special report about Dr. Klein and Dr. Ferrante on Thursday, April 2, 8pm on NBC.