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J.S. SteinmanHQ.jpg

…you'll be needing Dr. Steinman's key. He's the one what runs this place. But I don't expect him to hand it to you out of the milk of human kindness. Steinman ain't that kind, and frankly, I'm not even sure he's still human.
― Atlas[src]

Dr. J. S. Steinman, M.D., is the overseer of the Medical Pavilion. An accomplished surgeon, Steinman rose to a degree of prominence throughout Rapture, but ADAM abuse caused him to lose his grip on reality.


Career on the Surface[]

J. S. Steinman was born into a Jewish-American family[2] and was a respected medical professional at the Benjamin Church Medical College. Steinman had a successful career as an orthopedic surgeon but earned his highest accolades in the field of plastic surgery, inventing techniques that revolutionized the field. He was sorely missed by his friends and colleagues after disappearing to go to Rapture. His close friend, Dr. Richard Clerkwell, even hired a private detective to attempt to track him down.[1]

Life Within Rapture[]

An advertisement for Dr. Steinman's cosmetic surgery.

Because of his great renown in the field of cosmetic surgery, Steinman was one of those invited to Rapture by Andrew Ryan. There, he set up a medical practice in the Medical Pavilion level of Rapture and offered beauty to those who could afford it. When ADAM became available, Steinman saw it as an opportunity to revolutionize his field, making it possible for surgeons to truly "sculpt" flesh with ease.[3] However, the negative side-effects of repeated ADAM use soon caught up with Steinman, and his mind deteriorated.

A perfectionist, Steinman fell in love with his work, so much so that he became obsessed with human anatomy. Wanting to become a "Picasso of Surgery",[4] Steinman began to mutilate his unfortunate patients' bodies in horrific ways, usually resulting in death.[5] Many Splicers refer to him throughout the BioShock series, usually saying that Steinman will fix their deformities, even in his current state-of-mind.[6]

Dr. Steinman, growing so utterly obsessed with making his patients beautiful, began to hallucinate Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty, and looked upon her down the road of insanity.[7][8]

The following is based on the BioShock: Rapture novel and has not been confirmed by canon sources.

For years, even during his life in New York, Steinman had experienced hallucinations of Aphrodite speaking to him. This may have been partially caused by his use of cocaine and ether. Freed from the restrictions of society on the surface, Steinman felt that he could finally follow the divine inspiration of his goddess.[9]

On at least one occasion, Steinman purchased the bodies of rogue Splicers from Rapture's constabulary so that he could practice his art on living subjects. He saw it as an added bonus if his "patient" had been paralyzed in a fight with the police since he wouldn't need to administer anesthesia to keep the subject still during his carving.

In 1956, Frank Fontaine approached Steinman with an unusual request. Fontaine asked Steinman to perform surgery on himself and Reggie, making the underling look like Fontaine and Fontaine look like a completely different person. This was part of Fontaine's plan for his Atlas persona, and he made sure that Steinman never revealed his operation to anyone.[10]

End of information based on the BioShock: Rapture novel.

Final Decline[]

After the 1958 New Year's Eve Riots, Dr. Steinman worked to reconstruct the face of Diane McClintock, who had been injured during the bombing of the Kashmir Restaurant.[11]

The following is based on the BioShock: Rapture novel and has not been confirmed by canon sources.

Andrew Ryan suspected that Steinman had been "working on her in more ways than one", and that the two of them had been romantically involved until Steinman lost interest in her.[12]

In 1959 Steinman continued further along his descent into insanity. He murdered his nurse, Ms. Chavez, when she threatened to turn him into the Rapture constabulary. After he ran out of willing patients, he began working on Splicers that Sander Cohen had captured in Fort Frolic.[13]

End of information based on the BioShock: Rapture novel.

Notable Patients[]


Steinman over looking his "creations."

Main article: BioShock
What's this, goddess? An intruder! He's ugly! Ugly ugly ugly!
― Dr. Steinman, spotting Jack[src]

During his trek through the Medical Pavilion, Jack is required to find Steinman's key so he can disable the security lockdown in Emergency Access. As a result, Steinman is the first boss that the player encounters.

In the Medical Pavilion, the player can see many of Steinman's works of "art" painted on the floors and walls, as well as mutilated corpses left from Steinman's operations. In many cases, the mad doctor took photographs of female faces and modified them in eerie ways before posting them on the walls like framed artworks. His Audio Diaries are the first real exposure the player has to the total effects (mental and physical) of repeated splicing.

As Jack travels through the tunnel to Dr. Steinman's Aesthetic Ideals, Steinman can be seen on the television monitor addressing the "moral obligation" of beauty. When Jack enters the lobby of his domain, Steinman can be overheard wondering why humans have two of most body parts. The minute Steinman sees Jack approach he rushes into the corridor leading to his surgery, chucking a grenade behind him. The explosion causes rubble to block the entrance. After the player removes the debris, Steinman sets up a Turret and sends a Security Bot to attack Jack before retreating to his operating theater to continue his "art". There the player will be forced to fight him to the death.

Fighting Dr. Steinman[]

"That one, too fat! This one, too tall! This one… too symmetrical!"

Dr. Steinman is a relatively easy fight, as he will simply attempt to shoot the player with a machine gun. There are several different ways to go about winning the fight. The most straightforward, and probably hardest, is to shoot back; it takes a while to whittle down his health. One problem with this strategy is that once he is at low health, he will run over to heal at a nearby Health Station in a flooded alcove. Hacking the Health Station beforehand will set it to poison him when he uses it and helps to finish the battle more quickly.

Other possibly easier strategies include using the flooded alcove to shock him with Electro Bolt, and using the Telekinesis Plasmid to pick up and throw nearby gas canisters at his head, as well as a loose door in the right corner of the area that can inflict heavy damage on him (as well as provide protection from his shots). An oil slick near the operating table can also make the fight remarkably short: if Incinerate! is used to ignite either Steinman or the slick while he is on it.

There is also a nearby Security Bot and Turret in the hallway outside, both of which can be hacked before the battle begins. The Turret isn't very useful since it rarely has a line of sight to Dr. Steinman, but the Bot provides some extra damage, and hacking the Turret will ensure that there is one less thing that is shooting at the player if the fight moves out into the hallway. In fact, Steinman may attack the bot to the exclusion of anything else, making him an easy target so long as it is still fighting him, but this does not always occur.

Challenge Rooms[]

An altered Steinman poster, exclusive to the Challenge Rooms.

Main article: Challenge Rooms

Dr. Steinman's posters appear in the Spider Splicer stage (which is based on the Medical Pavilion, respectively) of the Worlds of Hurt challenge in the downloadable content Challenge Rooms.

BioShock 2[]

Religious imagery of Steinman in BioShock 2.

Main article: BioShock 2

Dr. Steinman is mentioned in the Audio Diary "Working for Sinclair" as being the one who supplied Augustus Sinclair with his "thousand dollar smile". He is also pictured in a painting above the case of a Little Sister relic in Siren Alley, showing him in his operating theater amongst his "failures" before his final confrontation with Jack during the events of the first BioShock.

Burial at Sea - Episode 1[]

Main article: Burial at Sea - Episode 1

A photo of J.S. Steinman is briefly seen in the Need to Know Theater film "Taking the Taint Out of Fontaine", along with other members of the Rapture Central Council. Steinman is a well-known figure in the city and a topic of discussion among the citizens of Rapture. A man uses a pickup line that mentions Steinman, with no luck.

Infinite Spoilers.png

Burial at Sea - Episode 2[]

Main article: Burial at Sea - Episode 2

Steinman is mentioned briefly by Atlas, commenting on how he learned to perform a transorbital lobotomy from Steinman's medical journal before he begins torturing Elizabeth. Atlas calls Steinman "a bit of a lunatic, but a fine surgeon."

Audio Diaries[]



The following are phrases that Dr. Steinman says in BioShock. The name of the source audio file is listed when known.

Scripted Dialogue[]


  • "With genetic modifications, beauty is no longer a goal or even a virtue, it is a moral obligation. Do we force the healthy to live with the contagious? Do we mix the criminal with the law abiding? Then why are the plain allowed to mingle with the fair?!"


  • "Why do we have two eyes? Is there some law that say we must? Two arms, two legs, two ears, two breasts…"


  • "No Goddess! He'll ruin everything! Get 'im! Have your harpies tear 'im to bits!"


  • "What can I do with this one, Aphrodite? She - won't - stay - still! I want to make them beautiful, but they always turn out wrong! That one… too fat! This one… too tall! This one… too symmetrical! And now- What's this, goddess? An intruder! He's ugly! Ugly, ugly, ugly!"

Combat Dialogue[]



  • "Do you know who I am?!"
  • "It's my patient!"
  • "Stop crowding me!"

Attacking in General[]


  • "Not my patient!"
  • "Look at you! Hideous!"

Frozen (Stuttering)[]


  • "So… cold!"

Sees the Player Die[]


  • "Let's call it nurse. Time of death… 6:40AM."
  • "I suppose we can do something with him. The flesh is still taut."
  • "What's that, goddess? Bring him to you? Right away!"

Sees the Player Fleeing[]


  • "Look in a mirror! Look in a mirror!"
  • "I'm not finished with you!"
  • "Oh sweet Aphrodite, why do they always run?!"

Lost Sight of the Player[]


  • "We're not finished! Not finished!"




  • The player can exploit a look trigger to whittle down Steinman's health the first time he is seen. When the player gets to the spot where Steinman would normally run away and lob a grenade behind him, instead of moving forward and looking at him, look away and go around until Jack is positioned under the entryway that would have collapsed. The game will trigger a grenade to fall and Steinman will run forward. However, because Jack beat him there he will be running into debris nonstop. At this point, the player can attack Steinman until his health reaches zero and he won't respond. However, Steinman can't die at this point, and any hits that would take his health below zero will have no effect. If the player leaves the area and returns later, Steinman will have disappeared and the player won't see him again until the encounter in the surgery room. Since his health was whittled down to the point of death previously, one hit will be enough to kill him in the next encounter.[confirmation needed]

Behind the Scenes[]

The "Doctor" clip art.

  • Dr. Steinman seen on the "Steinman's Simple Surgery in a Complex World" poster and the TV advertisement is a royalty-free "Doctor" clip art.
  • Dr. Steinman's character was at least partially inspired by the life of Sir Harold Gillies,[17] a man considered to be the father of plastic surgery who performed facial reconstructions on veterans during both World Wars. Gillies pioneered the "walking-stalk skin graft"[18] technique of plastic surgery, a technique that Steinman was said to have used in the article that mentions his disappearance. Interestingly, two of Gillies' patients were also used as the basis for the faces of the Toasty and Waders Splicer models.
  • The painting of Steinman with his "failures" in BioShock 2 is a play on depictions of the crucifixion in Christian artwork.[19]
  • In the painting, Steinman's back is facing the player, upon it, one can see a Rapturian "R" within a circle. Whether or not this is intended just as a watermark or the mark is actually supposed to be on Steinman, it is not evident when fighting him in BioShock.
Golden Girl Apples Crate Label.jpeg
  • Steinman's and Cohen's corpses are the only identified corpses in the game. Characters such as Peach Wilkins, Yi Suchong, Julie Langford, and Jasmine Jolene are either named a particular Splicer (in the case of Wilkins) or just "Corpse".
  • Steinman uses a re-textured Dr. Grossman Splicer model.
  • The Dr. Steinman's Cosmetic Enhancement advertisement uses a recolored crate label for Golden Girl apples.


  1. 1.0 1.1 "NYC Professor Pursues Missing Person" article clipping from There's Something in the Sea
  2. Faith In Rapture – Ken Levine Shares Thoughts On Creating Authentic Diversity on Game Informer
  3. J.S. Steinman's Audio Diaries: ADAM's Changes, Higher Standards
  4. J.S. Steinman's Audio Diary: Surgery's Picasso
  5. J.S. Steinman's Audio Diary: Not What She Wanted
  6. Toasty Splicer: "A trip to FreshHair, then save up to see Steinman… The ladies will be knockin' at my door!" & "Steinman'll fix me. Everything will work out. Just you wait."
  7. J.S. Steinman's Audio Diary: Symmetry
  8. J.S. Steinman's Audio Diary: Aphrodite Walking
  9. BioShock: Rapture, Chapter 9
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 BioShock: Rapture, Chapter 13
  11. 11.0 11.1 Diane McClintock's Audio Diary: Released Today
  12. BioShock: Rapture, Chapter 19
  13. BioShock: Rapture, Chapter 20
  14. Stanley Poole's Audio Diary: Working for Sinclair
  15. Loading Screen Quote by Marianne Dellahunt in BioShock: "Darling, you really MUST go see Steinman… everyone goes to Steinman!"
  16. Loading Screen Quote by Vera Prescott in BioShock 2 Multiplayer: "Closed?… Goodness, no… Medical is open--Steinman is open!… You simply must schedule an appointment… He'll open you, too."
  17. Harold Gillies on Wikipedia
  18. Walking-stalk skin graft, plastic surgery technique, on Wikipedia
  19. Crucifixion with the two thieves, painting by Piazzetta; 18th-century Italian artwork at the National Gallery of Australia