A Response to Tragic News Story of Murder by Dentist


Licensed independent social work supervisor Lisa Newburger, LISW-S shares her thoughts on this tragic news story and a doctor’s violation of trust.

A Response to Tragic News Story of Murder by Dentist. Image: © Mdisk - stock.adobe.com

A Response to Tragic News Story of Murder by Dentist. Image: © Mdisk - stock.adobe.com

On August 22nd, we learned the fate of Dr Larry Rudolph, a dentist in Denver, Colorado. He was convicted of killing his wife in Zambia and making it look like an accident she had.

I am speechless at this tragedy. My heart goes out to the family of Bianca Rudolph, the wife he murdered. Names are important. Please remember the victim. From a therapist’s position, my first thought is that some of us are not looking at this as domestic violence, which is what it is. Articles that focus on his wealth, his mail fraud, or his girlfriend overshadow the actual crime. We forget that Bianca Rudolph was a victim of domestic violence and that Larry Rudolph murdered her.

I know some of you might think what a salacious story this is. Money and greed can bring out the worst in people. I am a social worker thinking about what life might have been like living with a man who blew off his own finger for insurance money. That is a violent thing to do to one’s own body leaving us to wonder what else has he done that we don’t know?

This story violates the entire dental profession. Patients came in and trusted him to do dental work. Violating public trust isn’t just about his individual patients. Consider those who are anxious to see a dentist and now feel that their fears are reinforced. We forget that this causes damage to everyone involved. He was so driven by money that he harmed patients. They did not need root canals. He allegedly drilled holes in their teeth. Why? For money. How can someone who was supposed to help people violate those victims? I am stunned. This is humanity?

Every day, dental professionals are faced with a variety of issues inside and out of the operatory. In a changing and often-stressful world, it can be difficult to maintain the kind of professionalism that patients expect from their clinician. In the face of these changes, there are effective ways to navigate personal and professional trials–it’s just about finding them.

Master's level social worker supervisor and dental practice recruiter, Lisa Newburger, LISW-S, is offering key insights and advice for dental professionals ranging on a variety of topics. With a focus on reaching personal and professional goals, Lisa hopes to guide dental professionals on how to be the best version of themselves.

Have questions for Lisa? Reach out at diana2@discussdirectives.com and your question may be answered on dentalproductsreport.com.

It would be so easy to say he is evil and a degenerate. Did that make me feel good? No. It doesn’t take away the stain he made on all of us. We are supposed to help each other. Take care of each other. Trust each other. Yet, when a person like him violated his patients and his wife, he violated all of us.

I know you may think I am being judgmental. Yes, I didn’t know him, but I am reacting to this article. Think about that poor wife. Who expects their spouse to kill them? Unfortunately, there are many who are being abused and threatened repeatedly. This is not a surprise to some. It is horrific.

My guess is that there is more to this story. I don’t believe that things like this happen in vacuums, but the sad part is that people aren’t thinking about Bianca. They are thinking of the fascinating storyline. Remember, a woman is dead. That moment when she was shot––she was perhaps looking at her husband. Maybe she was surprised that he would aim a gun at her. We don’t know what the relationship was or what she was thinking, but she is no longer here and that is a tragedy no matter what.

If you live with someone who abuses you emotionally, financially, or physically, please tell someone. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233. You are not alone. People are there for you and will help you figure out what you want to do. You are worth it.

Please email me at diana2@discussdrectives.com and share your thoughts about this story with me.

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