NewsAnother “death nurse”? Hospital murder investigation

Another “death nurse”? Hospital murder investigation

In the fall of 2020, an arrest in Munich made headlines: A nurse is said to have tried to kill three patients in the hospital. Now it is clear that everything could be much worse.

Munich (AP) – The case made headlines last year: A nurse is said to have tried to kill three patients in a Munich hospital.

However, new investigation results now indicate that this was possibly just the tip of the iceberg and that it was not just the attempted murder. The investigation into the young man has expanded from attempted to committed murder. “The public prosecutor’s office is now assuming not only three attempted homicides, but also two completed homicides,” said a spokeswoman for the authority at the request of the German Press Agency in Munich. And, according to her, further suspected cases are still being examined: “The investigations are ongoing.”

So far it was only known that the public prosecutor’s office was investigating three cases on suspicion of attempted murder. She accuses the 24-year-old when he was arrested for having put three patients, aged 54, 90 and 91 at the time, into mortal danger with medication out of a pure obsession with recognition, in order to then shine in their rescue.

An attentive senior physician at the Klinikum rechts der Isar was puzzled because the condition of two patients had suddenly and inexplicably worsened. Internal investigations revealed evidence of a similar case in which the accused was also on duty. The suspicion: the nurse injected the patient with an overdose of a drug that they should not have been given. Traces of these non-prescribed drugs were found in the patients’ blood. The clinic reported the nurse, he denied the allegations when he was arrested.

The trained geriatric nurse had come to the clinic via a temporary employment agency since July 2020 and mainly worked in the so-called guard ward, an intermediate ward between intensive care and normal ward, where the sick were cared for around the clock. The police investigation team dealing with the case is therefore called the “guard station”.

Before he took the job in the Munich hospital, according to the public prosecutor’s office, the man from North Rhine-Westphalia had not yet worked in a clinic, but only in geriatric care facilities and according to previous knowledge, he had not become conspicuous. “With regard to his work there, according to the investigative authorities there, there were no abnormalities with regard to any comparable cases,” said the spokeswoman for the public prosecutor’s office.

According to the authority, chat history suggests that the young man in Munich wanted to boast about resuscitation assumptions and about having saved human lives. “So risking someone’s life and then standing there as a white knight, of course, we classify that as low motivation,” said the spokeswoman after the arrest. At the time, she didn’t want to say who the man was chatting with about the resuscitation. She also did not say whether the suspect has since commented on the allegations.

The case is reminiscent of the patient killer Niels Högel, known as the “death nurse”, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder in 85 cases by the Oldenburg district court in 2019. He worked as a nurse in intensive care medicine in clinics in Oldenburg and Delmenhorst and, according to the regional court ruling, killed a total of 85 patients there by giving them medically not indicated medication. It is said that it was primarily a matter of being able to resuscitate the patient afterwards and to shine in front of colleagues.

Homicides in the care sector keep making headlines across Germany. It was only at the beginning of October 2020 that the District Court of Munich I sentenced a nurse to life imprisonment with subsequent preventive detention for the murder of three patients. The man from Poland injected insulin into old people whom he was supposed to care for, which can be fatal if overdosed.

The Klinikum rechts der Isar is not the first Munich clinic to be affected by such a case. In 2016, the Munich Regional Court I sentenced a midwife from the Großhadern Clinic to 15 years in prison for sevenfold attempted murder in the delivery room. The court was convinced that the woman had secretly given blood thinners to patients when they gave birth to a caesarean section. Without emergency surgery, they would have died.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210513-99-580769 / 3

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