A German nurse who was apparently bored and wanted to show off his ‘excellent’ resuscitation skills has confessed to killing 30 of his patients by deliberately injecting them with a dangerous medicine.
Prosecutors believe that the 38-year-old former nurse could be responsible for more than 150 deaths.
Yahoo! News reports that Niels H went on trial in Oldenburg in northern Germany in September accused of the murder of three patients and attempted murder of two others.
Yesterday the defendant who is already serving a seven-and-a-half prison sentence for the attempted murder of another patient in 2008, pleaded guilty to those charges and also confessed he had over-medicated another 90 patients, 30 of whom died.
Investigators believe that the former nurse’s motive for the series of deaths which occurred at Delmenhorst clinic, located near Oldenburg in Lower Saxony state was in part to spark medical emergencies for patients so that he could then demonstrate his resuscitation skills, but they also believe his killing was born out of boredom.
The Guardian reported that the defendant who worked in the intensive care unit of Delmenhorst clinic between 2003 and 2005 injected his victims with an overdose of a cardiovascular medication which can lead to life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia and a drop in blood pressure, causing a rapid decline in an already very sick patient.
The death rate in the Delmenhorst clinic nearly doubled in the time Niels H worked there, and use of the heart medication also increased dramatically. Relatives of the dead are furious that it has took nearly a decade for an investigation to be launched.
The accused admitted to the death of 30 patients and explained that 60 others survived. Although he denied any further killings the state prosecutor said he could be involved in more than 150 deaths and the authorities are currently investigating the deaths of 174 patients who died during Niels H’s shifts between 2003 and 2005.
Prosecutors argue that the narcissistic nurse craved the admiration of his colleagues and the gratitude of his patients and their families, who would consider him their saviour for having brought them back from the brink.
A senior doctor who gave evidence in September said Niels H was a ‘passionate medic’ who made a good impression on staff at the clinic but was concerned about certain elements of his behaviour.
“I found it strange that he was always on hand when patients were being resuscitated, often helping younger doctors with intubation – inserting a breathing tube into a patient’s airways.”
Former head of heart surgery Otto Dapunt who worked with Niels H of almost three years told the court that the nurse had participated with an “above average regularity” in cases where reanimation was necessary.
“I never considered this to be suspicious as such – particularly as the nurse was regularly on call and often had to deal with serious cases – but I had often found Niels H to be “overly zealous” in wanting to take care of the more critical patients.
“He was also often unusually moved by the deaths of his patients. On one occasion he was in a completely distraught state. But he was factually competent, perhaps more competent than others.”