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Male nurse kills 40 patients...what do you think?

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jdm33351 jdm33351 (New) New

I read this story on Yahoo news today and when I first saw the headline I thought the guy was a psycho. But it turns out the murders were actually mercy killings.

Would you help a terminally ill patient die, especially if you felt no one would ever find out what you did? I remember that when this issue came up in medical ethics there was a heated debate about whether it should be more morally acceptable to watch terminally ill patients suffer than to help them end their misery sooner.

I'm curious to know everyone's thoughts about this.

We had a similar case in Southern California. Two nurses gave a terminal elderly patient pain medication, which was not authorized by the doctor, and which subsequently killed him.

They're now charged with involuntary manslaughter.

jnette, ASN, EMT-I

Specializes in Hemodialysis, Home Health. Has 10 years experience.

It's not his call. Not his choice to make. Period.

Marie_LPN, RN, LPN, RN

Specializes in 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER.

It is not my place to play God. That is the bottom line.

nurses should stay out of it. the pt should decided if they want to die then carry it out off hospital grounds and with family whom they have the agreement with.

I'm all for the right to die, but I don't want to be the one to do it because there will always be someone in the family who dosn't agree and you will become their target.

Tweety, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 28 years experience.

Originally posted by jnette

It's not his call. Not his choice to make. Period.

Nuff said jnette and I agree.

I have to detach myself when treating someone agressively when I know it's increasing their suffering. It's tough. It's one of the reasons I've stayed out of ICU (although I'm still going to work there one day).

Noney

Specializes in Critical Care.

What a freak!

Noney

Not to sound calous or anything, but don't we euthanize animals who are suffering because we fell it is the humane thing to do? Why then do we force people to live with pain and suffering. If a person chooses to die because they don't want to suffer anymore why not respect that wish. Yes, you are always going to have a family member who is going to disagree, but it's not their body, it's their loved one's body and they should be the one who has the say in the matter.

Just putting my two cents worth in.

I have cared for my share of folks who have begged me to help them end their life and/or stop what we are doing (futile care). It is gutwrenching. My role here? Encourage an appropriate conversation with the patient's loved ones and doctors. And refer to ethics committee if my conscience so dictates. Period.

We are not Nurse Kavorkians.

SmilingBluEyes

Has 20 years experience.

what jnette said. this makes me sick.

TiffyRN, ADN, BSN, PhD

Specializes in NICU. Has 27 years experience.

I have conflicted feelings about this. I know that when I first became a nurse 11 years ago I felt I KNEW the absolute right thing to do for every patient, who should be coded, who should be made comfortable and let go. I have found through the years that I have become much less confident in knowing the right path for all patients (not that I ever had any real control over these decisions). That's why I have such conflicted feelings about what this nurse did. The bottom line though is that it is not legal to do what he did even if the patients were actively asking for such a thing.

Slightly off topic . . . Do we still have to make the distinction "male nurse"? (my husband and I are both RN's but he is frequently given the additional label "male nurse"). I'm sure no harm was intended but we don't generally call certain nurses "African-American Nurse" or "Buddhist Nurse".

Tell your husband to tell people the same thing I do... when people say "oh... you're a male nurse?" I reply "no, I take care of the ladies, too!" : )

I didn't even know about this until my nightly visit to allnurses.com--- This guy was doing this about 50 minutes down the turnpike from where I live in PA!!!

Insofar as this guy... WOW!!!!!!!

In God's time, not our own.

TiffyRN . . . .I had the same thought when I saw "male RN".

I agree with jnette too . . ..

I don't agree that his motive was mercy killing either . . .

steph

SmilingBluEyes

Has 20 years experience.

good point...

"male nurse" was not needed as title here.....

it was criminal no matter the gender of the person comitting these acts. THIS sort of stuff contributes to our divisiveness, not helps.

"nurse kills 40 patients " would have done fine.

I have a few Questions about this such as do you withhold morphine from someone who is agonizing in pain but resp rate is too low? Even if the order states you could give it if you withhold it how can you be a good nurse-letting this person suffer like that and if you give it are you a good nurse for easing the suffering and possibly killing the pt? Also what about things like peg tubes that may prolong a persons life but is there any quality? I have struggled with these questions and have never come up with a morally right or wrong answer.

I know for myself in a terminal situation I would want morphine enough to keep me comfortable no matter what my resp.,and I would want NO peg tube also just a HL please dont keep me well hydrated while I starve slowly to death

As I said this is a very hard question one that I beleive has no answer.

But this man gave these people meds that were unneeded to ease their suffering (such as pain meds) but gave them meds to intentionally kill them and that is a no brainer its murder

P_RN, ADN, RN

Specializes in ORTHOPAEDICS-CERTIFIED SINCE 89. Has 30 years experience.

Well for what it's worth one of the neighboring town's newspapers only addressed it as:

Ex-N.J. Nurse Says He Killed More Than 30

By TOM BELL

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - A former nurse was charged with murder Monday after telling prosecutors that he has killed 30 to 40 severely ill patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey since 1987 by injecting them with drugs.....clipped...

Sorry NO MALE.

Originally posted by jnette

It's not his call. Not his choice to make. Period.

I agree...

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