Apr 26, 2022 - Things to Do

The host of "Dr. Death" has a new podcast

The art for a podcast, featuring a shadow-y woman in profile

Illustration courtesy of iHeartRadio.

Laura Beil, the acclaimed local science reporter who hosted the ultra-popular "Dr. Death" podcast, has a new six-part true-crime pod about a woman who faked a series of illnesses for almost 20 years.

It's called "Sympathy Pains."

Driving the news: "Sympathy Pains" is among the top-five most listened to podcasts in the country.

Details: "Sympathy Pains" tells the story of Sarah Delashmit, who told the people around her that she had cancer and muscular dystrophy. She used a wheelchair and told friends and coworkers she was trapped in abusive relationships and that she was the mother of children who had died.

  • Spoiler alert: It was all a con.

Yes, but: Delashmit wasn't looking for money. She wanted something more intoxicating: sympathy.

  • The first episode takes place at a Texas camp for people with disabilities.

Flashback: "Dr. Death" had more than 50 million listeners and was turned into a television show starring Alec Baldwin and Christian Slater.

What she's saying: "What drew me was the chance to tell such an unbelievable story," Beil tells Axios. "Plenty of people have faked illness, but she did it so elaborately for so many years and fooled so many people. There’s a complexity to the story that also appealed to me. I didn’t just want to tell what happened, I wanted to try to understand it, and understand why it matters to anyone who wasn’t caught in her net."

Worthy of your time: Listen to "Sympathy Pains" here, or wherever you get your podcasts.


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