Michael J. Halberstam

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Michael J. "Mike" Halberstam (9 August 1932 – December 5, 1980) was an American cardiologist and author.

Life and career[edit]

He graduated from Harvard in 1953 and from Boston University School of Medicine in 1957. In addition to medical papers in his field, Halberstam wrote on Medicare,[1] litigation against physicians,[2] and television reviews of medical shows like Marcus Welby, M.D..


On December 5, 1980, Halberstam was shot at his Washington, D.C. home by Bernard C. Welch, Jr., an escaped convict living in the area.[3] Halberstam and his wife surprised Welch when they returned to their home while Welch was committing a burglary.[4]

Despite having been shot twice in the chest by Welch, Halberstam told his wife to get into their car, and he drove them toward Sibley Hospital. On the way to the hospital, Halberstam saw Welch, shouted, "That's the guy!" and swerved to hit him. Welch was wounded, but not fatally injured. Halberstam crashed his car into a tree near the hospital, and was brought to the emergency room by ambulance. His colleagues were unable to save him, and Halberstam died on the operating table approximately 90 minutes after he was shot. District of Columbia police arrested the wounded Welch.[5] At Welch's trial, the prosecuting attorney pointed at him, and used Halberstam's words, "That's the guy!"[6]

Welch received life sentences for one count each of felony murder and second-degree armed burglary, to be served concurrently, four counts of burglary and four counts of grand larceny totaling 143 years.[7] [8] Bernard Welch died in prison in 1997.

Michael's brother was Pulitzer Prize-winning writer David Halberstam.

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • The Wanting of Levine (1978)
  • A Coronary Event (1976)
  • The Pills in Your Life (1973)
  • Making the rounds with Sir William (1974)


  1. ^ Halberstam, Michael J. (August 13, 1967). A Doctor's Diagnosis Of Medicare; Diagnosis of Medicare (Cont.) Medicare is converting hospitals into geriatric institutions. New York Times
  2. ^ Halberstam, Michael J. (February 14, 1971). The Doctor's New Dilemma -- 'Will I Be Sued?' New York Times
  3. ^ Ledbetter, Les (December 6, 1980). Michael J. Halberstam, Physician and Writer, Is Slain; Wrote Several Books and Articles. New York Times
  4. ^ Reinhold, Robert (December 7, 1980). Michael J. Halberstam, Washington Physician and Author, Fatally Shot; Confrontation Near Front Door A Man of Many Talents. New York Times
  5. ^ Lyons, Richard D. (December 8, 1980). Slaying Suspect A Puzzle to Neighbors; House Was Toured Periods Away From Home Control of Handguns Sought. New York Times
  6. ^ Lyons, Richard D. (April 11, 1981). Escaped Felon Is Convicted of Murdering Dr. Halberstam, a Noted Washington Cardiologist. New York Times
  7. ^ Staff report (April 18, 2005). Milestones. Time
  8. ^ Associated Press (May 23, 1981). Killer of Halberstam Given 9 Consecutive Life Terms.

External links[edit]