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Nurses Who Harm Patients

Nurses Article   (33,846 Views | 21 Replies | 1,600 Words)

madwife2002 has 26 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in RN, BSN, CHDN.

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Nurses are often revered by society. The general pubic think of nurses as caring, helpful and healing. Certainly not as serial killers or as individuals who are out to harm loved ones. Nurses as serial killers can often be hushed up in society, allowing these nurses to not be identified quickly enough even though there are signs. They are often 'job hoppers', fired or suspended from many jobs with hospitals and moving on quietly.

Nurses Who Harm Patients

When we entrust our loved ones to the care of Nurses, few people really believe that they are going to be deliberately harmed by Health care professionals. Surprisingly, over 2000 Nurses worldwide have been convicted of harming, or killing their patients.

Often these nurses move around from job to job, which makes it difficult for them to be caught. Frequently these nurses are fired and suspended from jobs. Hospitals do not want negative publicity so often they will move suspicious staff to jobs where there is minimum contact with patients or just fire them, so they go away.

History shows us that there are RN's out there who do harm and kill patients.

Of all healthcare professionals who kill their patients 86% of them are nurses both male and female. They are prolific serial killers, who have the means, opportunity and ideal place to perform their crime.

Facts

On 10/14/2014 a nurse in Italy was arrested for murdering 38 of her patients because they or their family irritated her. Daniela Poggiali apparently used potassium chloride to kill her patients and even took a photo of herself next to the dead body.

Quote

"Colleague described her as a 'cold person who was always eager to work.' This included the allegation from a co-worker that Poggiali would give patients strong laxatives at the end of her shift to make work more difficult for the nurses taking over."

Lainz Angels of Death were 4 nurses in Vienna who started killing their patients from 1983-1991 they admitted to 48 but it is thought that there could be as many as 200 patients who lost their lives.

Quote
'It was their own carelessness that finally stopped them. Over drinks one day, they relived one of their latest cases, laughing over the patient's distress and the fact that she deserved her fate. At a table nearby sat a doctor. What he overheard sent him scurrying to the police station, and they quickly launched an investigation. It took six weeks, but all four women were arrested on April 7, 1989. The doctor in charge of their ward was suspended." Crimelibrary.com
Quote
June 1987 to January 1992 -- Cullen works at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J. The hospital said it fired Cullen, but declined to say why.

February 1992 to December 1993 -- Cullen employed at Warren Hospital in Phillipsburg, N.J. Cullen quits two months after he and other nurses are questioned in the death of a 91-year-old patient.

April 1994 to October 1996 -- Cullen works at Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, N.J.

November 1996 to August 1997 -- Cullen employed at Morristown Memorial Hospital in Morristown, N.J. The hospital says it fired Cullen for "poor performance."' (The Associated Press, 2004b)

Quote
Genene Jones worked at several medical clinics around San Antonio, Texas as a pediatric nurse. It is believed that during this time she injected numerous infants and babies with life-threatening drugs. The exact number of children who died as a result of Jones is unknown, however in 1985 she was convicted of killing a four-week-old child.
Quote
"She seems to have been motivated by a drive for ruthless efficiency to free up a hospital bed," prosecutor Robin Spencer QC told Chester Crown Court. "One way or another she wanted these patients off her ward. She quite deliberately and brazenly overstepped the line between humane nursing and callous dispatch."
Quote
The problems with her previous employment which involved stealing drugs was also brought to light. Plus the fact that she lied on her application and did not put that she had worked as a nurse.

Why do nurses harm or kill patients?

Quote
Three former workers at an assisted living center pleaded guilty Monday to neglecting a dying 83-year-old Alzheimer's patient who police say was kicked and stomped by one of their co-workers. Prosecutors said the three women failed to get help for William Neff for days after he was severely beaten by a frustrated nurse's aide at the Alterra Clare Bridge personal care home in Lower Makefield in 2000. (Caruso, 2003)

How to identify, spot and stop

During research and investigations into why Nurses kill or injure their patients many of the serial killers showed similar types of behavior. The red flags include...

See it, Say it

As healthcare professionals we need to be vigilant and if we see abuse of patients or witness something, which doesn't seem quite right with one of co-workers, we cannot just ignore the signs, we are accountable and we must hold others accountable for their actions.

We mustn't become a passive bystander we have to look after our patients and keep them safe from harm. If you see it then say it!

It is difficult to speak up sometimes especially when it is something as serious as patient abuse, or a suspicious patient death but it is our duty to protect our patients and we have to stand and be counted!


References

Angels of Death:The female nurses by Katherine Ramsland. Retrieved from

http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/angels/female_nurses/index.html

Nurse accused of killing 38 patients that she found annoying. Retrieved from Nurse accused of killing 38 patients she found annoying | New York Post

Kimberly Saenz, Angel of Death, Retrieved from Kimberly Saenz

When Nurses kill-Psychology, by Katherine Ramsland, Phd. Retrieved from When Nurses Kill | Psychology Today

  • Charles Cullen was fired 5 times and forced to resign twice before he was arrested for murder. Charles used digoxin to kill his patients he admitted to killing over 40 patients and injuring many more but was only convicted of killing 29. His youngest victim was only 21.
  • Genene Ann Jones was convicted of killing only 1 baby in 1981 but it is believed she the number is closer to 45. Genene used muscle relaxants to cause respiratory arrest. Genene is due to be paroled in 2017. Genene was fired from her first job for making decisions where she had no authority and mistreating her patient who complained.
  • In the UK Barbara Salisbury is currently standing trail for trying to kill her patients to free up the beds. Barbara allegedly boosted a pain med pump 76 times during one shift-using medication 8 hours quicker than prescribed.
  • April 2013, In Texas Kimberley Saenz was convicted of causing death by injecting 5 patients with bleach and 5 other patients were injured by Kimberley. Kimberley was seen by a couple of patients walk over to the bleach with syringes, draw up the bleach then walk over and administered it to two patients. They immediately called for help.
  • Hospitals provide an ideal location for serial killers; the means to kill are readily available.
  • Medical murders are not easily detected! There is something called 'The code of silence'
  • Research has shown that Nurses who kill are often seeking power; control, attention, financial gain and they enjoy the feeling of being a 'hero'.
  • Often the medical professional will defend himself or herself by saying it was an act of mercy, and that they were only performing euthanasia.
  • Murder becomes addictive, they can't stop, and in some cases it has given the nurse a sexual thrill so they want to feel that again.
  • Nurses are given macabre nicknames by patients or others on staff, such as "Death Angel," or "The Terminator.
  • They are seen entering rooms where unexpected deaths occurred.
  • They moved often from one facility to another.
  • They were secretive.
  • They had a persistently difficult time with personal relationships.
  • They liked to "predict" when a patient would die.
  • They made inconsistent statements when asked about suspicious incidents.
  • They often preferred shifts where fewer colleagues and supervisors were around (generally the night shift).
  • They were associated with several incidents at different institutions.
  • They craved attention.
  • They would complain a lot about what a burden patients were.
  • Often tried to prevent others from checking on patients.
  • They were seen in areas or patient rooms where they didn't belong.
  • They hung around during the immediate death investigation.
  • They possessed the suspect substance in their home, locker, or personal effects.
  • They had lied about some detail of their personal information or credentials, or had falsified reports.
  • They had been involved in other types of criminal activities.
  • They had a substance abuse problem.

RN with 26 years of experience many of those years spent in dialysis. I have worked in acute care, home, ICHD as a CN, FA, and currently a director.

1 Follower; 74 Articles; 121,053 Profile Views; 4,777 Posts

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calivianya is a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU.

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I have never seen anyone kill a patient maliciously, but I have seen a lot of people die because of careless errors. Those also get covered up very readily - no hospital wants to get sued so administration is not going to encourage honesty, and any staff members who step up and say, "Yeah, your father was critically ill, but if his Levophed hadn't run dry..." are going to be looking for a new job very soon. There are too many good reasons to lie about adverse events for the truth to always come out.

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TheCommuter has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

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Great article, madwife!

A couple of years ago I compiled a list of killer nurses. Some were 'angels of mercy' who killed while on the clock and others killed off-duty.

Nurses Who Have Killed

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TheCommuter has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

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There are too many good reasons to lie about adverse events for the truth to always come out.
You have an extremely salient point. Very few people freely admit to malpractice.

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klone has 14 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership.

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Is that REALLY in the "top 10 reasons" why nurses get fired? For being serial killers? Interesting article, but the title seems a bit specious to me.

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tnbutterfly - Mary is a BSN, RN and specializes in Peds, Med-Surg, Disaster Nsg, Parish Nsg.

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It states in the article that this is part of a series of articles.

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klone has 14 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership.

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It states in the article that this is part of a series of articles.

I understand that. Presumably there will be 9 other articles in the series. I'm just saying I'm skeptical that being a serial killer is in the top 10 reasons why nurses get fired.

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TheCommuter has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

2 Followers; 228 Articles; 27,607 Posts; 318,458 Profile Views

Presumably there will be 9 other articles in the series.

She has already written eight other articles in this series over the past couple of years. This article that we are currently reading is the ninth; however, she started at ten and is slowly making her way in a descending pattern down to one. Here is the link to madwife2002's blog:

madwife2002's Nursing Blog

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1 Article; 1,939 Posts; 40,878 Profile Views

I enjoyed the article. I think what Klone is trying to say that is that being a serial killer is not one of the top most COMMON reasons nurses get fired. Obviously if a nurse is a serial killer they will be fired. I think it is more common for nurses to be fired for medical errors that leads to a patient demise. Usually it is unintentional unlike deliberately killing someone.

Once again I enjoy reading the article.

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madwife2002 has 26 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in RN, BSN, CHDN.

1 Follower; 74 Articles; 4,777 Posts; 121,053 Profile Views

I understand that. Presumably there will be 9 other articles in the series. I'm just saying I'm skeptical that being a serial killer is in the top 10 reasons why nurses get fired.

Morning, Yes there are 8 other articles in the series and yes this article could be considered controversial and it is dependent on the writers point of view. Maybe just maybe someone could read this article and notice somebody strange at work and save a patients life???

My question is 'did they or did they not get fired previously to getting caught?' I suggest that they do get fired not because they are serial killers but because their practice is questionable!

Something is not quiet right but rather than facing it which is uncomfortable and difficult to prove, then it is covered up by moving the RN to a different environment, or firing him or her. I can guarantee if you have been in healthcare for numerous years you have witnessed something which doesn't sit right with you!

You might not report it then or there but you will watch that co-worker carefully.

madwife2002's Nursing Blog

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54 Posts; 2,254 Profile Views

Sounds like something from a horror movie

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TheCommuter has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

2 Followers; 228 Articles; 27,607 Posts; 318,458 Profile Views

Something is not quiet right but rather than facing it which is uncomfortable and difficult to prove, then it is covered up by moving the RN to a different environment, or firing him or her.

Precisely. This is what happened to nurse Charles Cullen for many years. His coworkers and supervisors noticed that patient demise seemed to spike whenever he was working, so instead of investigating the matter further, they simply allowed him to quietly resign. Of course, he hopped from facility to facility, taking his deadly touch with him.

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