A male German nurse, who is identified in court documents as Niels H., was jailed last year for killing two patients with a lethal heart drug. One year later, authorities believe the convicted killer murdered at least 24 others. If the questionable deaths are connected to the 39-year-old man, it would make him one of Germany's most prolific serial killers in modern times.
According to the Telegraph, Niels confessed to injecting more than 90 patients with the potentially deadly drug Gilrytmal.
In heavy doses, Gilrytmal essentially shuts down the cardiovascular system. Although it can be safely used to treat atrial fibrillation, it must be administered under close supervision. Otherwise, it may cause a fatal drop in blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and an unbalanced functioning of the heart muscle.
German nurse suspected in 24 more patient deaths https://t.co/gnsofiDfao #Delmenhorst pic.twitter.com/sMB63WEPZs
— dwnews (@dwnews) April 14, 2016
The German nurse eventually confessed he administered the drug to his patients to force them into cardiac arrest so he could save their lives and therefore earn the respect of his colleagues.
Niels said he felt exhilarated when he succeeded in bringing a patient back to life and disappointed each time he failed. He admitted he became addicted to the grisly game of life and death. Although he often vowed to stop the deadly game, he felt compelled to do it again and again.
After his disturbing confession, prosecutors urged police authorities to launch an investigation into other patients who died at the Delmenhorst hospital under mysterious circumstances.
German 'serial killer' nurse suspect in 24 more deathshttps://t.co/VljOFBbApX pic.twitter.com/xDT2oAvA2m
— Times of India (@timesofindia) April 14, 2016
The remains of 77 of patients, who all had contact with the German nurse, were exhumed and tested. Medical officials confirmed 24 of the deceased patients tested positive for the fatal cardiovascular drug Niel was convicted of using on two patients in 2015. The number is expected to rise as authorities await autopsy results on the remains of seven others.
Niels worked for an emergency medical service, a nursing home, and another hospital before he was hired to work at the Delmenhorst hospital. In the coming months, investigators will be investigating over 200 fatalities that occurred while the German nurse worked for the aforementioned establishments.
Niels H. is described by his friends and family as a "passionate medic." Among his colleagues, he was also respected and well-liked. However, he eventually earned notoriety for always being around when patients fell unconscious and offering junior doctors assistance with the resuscitation process.
In 2005, a colleague caught the German nurse injecting a patient, without supervision, at the Delmenhorst hospital. Although the patient survived the incident, Niels H. was arrested and later sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for attempted murder.
The media frenzy the trial stirred up prompted a woman to contact investigators, as her mother died under suspicious circumstances while under the German nurse's care.
After exhuming the bodies of five former patients, authorities determined Niels H. had a hand in two of their deaths. He was subsequently sentenced to life in prison.
During Niels' time at the Delmenhorst hospital, authorities said the death rate doubled. Unfortunately, it took over a decade before investigations into the deaths, and the German nurse's involvement, were launched.
"No one wants to believe that a colleague would rather kill patients instead of helping them," an attorney for the medical clinic said.
He said the medical staff simply attributed the deaths to natural causes.
LifeNews reports Niels H. is not the first nurse to use his position to commit murder. Daniela Poggiali, an Italian nurse, was also arrested for killing an estimated 96 patients simply because they annoyed her.
Hospital officials became suspicious when five patients died within a week in March 2014. Poggiali had been working night shifts and was often the only person on duty in her ward. Supervisors eventually moved her to morning and afternoon shifts to keep a closer eye on her activities. Three days later, another patient, 78-year-old Rosa Calderoni, died.
Rosa's daughter, Manuela Alci, said she was told to leave the room by Poggiali, who wanted to give medication to her mother. Ten minutes later, when she was allowed back into the room, Manuela said a tube was in her mother's arm and her eyes were rolling uncontrollably. Rosa was dead within minutes.
Authorities later revealed the elderly woman was given a lethal dose of potassium, which is used in lethal injection compounds in the United States.
When the daughter of the deceased raised questions about her mother's death, two vials of potassium chloride were discovered missing.
According to reports, Poggiali chose potassium because it is difficult to detect and all traces generally leave the body within hours. However, on this occasion, doctors moved swiftly to test the elderly woman's mucous membranes and found traces of the poison, which was enough to cause a fatal heart attack.
The Daily Mail reports Poggiali still killed two more patients on the same day prior to her arrest. She was photographed laughing when she when handcuffed and taken into custody.
Neither the German nurse nor his attorney has commented on the allegations that he has at least 24 other victims.
[Image via Brian A. Jackson/Shutterstock]