By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
A startling criminal case out of Germany could be reminiscent of Britain’s Harold Shipman case.
Prosecutors in the German State of Lower Saxony accuse a former nurse, identified only as Nils “H.” pursuant to German privacy laws, of killing one patient and the attempt of two others. He is also being investigated for possible involvement in over one hundred and fifty suspicious deaths occurring during his practice.
According to prosecutors his motive for committing such crimes was boredom.
H. who is in his late thirties, is accused of injecting patients, both ill and recovering, with Gilurytmal, a medication capable of producing fatal cardiovascular effects. The drug’s side effects are such that only doctors may administer it under strict supervision. Complications associated with the drug include an irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure and adverse effects to the heart muscle.
Prosecutors accuse H. of wanting to display, as H. referred to as, his excellent resuscitation skills in order to allay boredom with his job. And in an even more macabre accusation he is said to have made a second injection if the first resuscitation proved successful.
The state prosecutor and police are investigating the deaths of one hundred seventy four patients who died during H.’s shirts from 2003 to 2005 at a Delmenhorst clinic. The case is expected to be broadened to include his previous employers in Oldenburg and Wilhelmshaven where he worked as a paramedic. The investigation is expected to last until 2015 and will be limited to victims’ bodies having not been cremated and those without certain pre-existing conditions.
In 2008, H. was convicted and sentenced to seven and a half years imprisonment for the attempted murder of another patient. In this case an overdose of heart medication was administered. Fortunately the patient recovered.
During the time H. worked at Delmenhorst Clinic, the death rate doubled and the use of the heart medication increased dramatically. It took however nearly a decade before authorities launched an investigation.
A physician who provided evidence for the case in September stated H. was a “passionate medic” who had a positive reputation among the staff. He testified that he did note, however, that it was strange H. was always nearby when patients were being resuscitated.
Eric Joester, a lawyer for the clinic, stated in an interview with news agency DPA that “No one wants to believe that a colleague would rather kill patients instead of helping them.” He indicated the higher rate of death was attributed to a number of causes, including the addition of a new cancer department.
It is possible the clinic had its suspicions. According to DPA, H. was at first transferred but later asked to resign in exchange for a good reference. Gaby Lübben, a prosecution lawyer, is quoted as stating that the clinic “tried to get rid of the problem.”
By Darren Smith
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