My mom came to visit me in Hollywood from Boston this week. She is a registered nurse in the ICU at a General Hospital in my hometown. For some reason, having her around made me think of serial killer nurses.
Nurses and doctors. We trust them with our lives. However, what better profession for sick individuals to get their rocks off in. If they are smart enough they can get their lust for killing satisfied but disguise it with medical overlay. They are dealing with critically ill patients anyway. Some serial killer types like to bring their patients to the brink of death and then magically “save them” so that they can get all the attention and glory for “saving a life”. Some like to push their patients that extra step to cross over to death and justify their actions by thinking that they are helping them die peacefully.
Imagine you are in a hospital bed surrounded by various machines and pierced by needles and tubes running through your body. The nurse comes in and injects something into your IV. You assume it’s to make you feel better. Then you are overcome with incredible pain and you slip into and out of consciousness. What’s going on? You’ve been visited by one of the many Angels of Death that dwell in our hospitals today. She is taking joy from your pain. Being in charge of another human’s health and very life is the ultimate rush of control.
Here are some of the more famous Angels of Death:
Maria Gruber, Irene Leidolf, Stephanija Meyer, and Waltraud Wagner were Austrian nurses who worked at Lainz General Hospital in Vienna: Wagner (23) killed her first patient with an overdose of morphine in 1983. She found an overwhelming satisfaction in playing God. She recruited the other nurses and devised a new more “exciting” way to murder patients. One nurse would hold the patients head and plug his nose while the other would pour water in his mouth. The crime was unprovable since it wasn’t uncommon for elderly patients to die from fluid in their lungs. The nurses were caught when they bragged in a local tavern about their kills. They confessed to 49 murders over six years but may have been responsible for over 200.
Jane Toppan (1854 – 1938) – trained at Cambridge Hospital and even worked at the prestigious Massachusetts general Hospital. She was a “lust driven” serial killer. She experimented with different dosages of narcotics in patients and made up medical charts etc. to help get away with her deeds. She would lay in patients and hold their bodies to hers as they drifted in and out of consciousness before they would die. She derived sexual pleasure from being close to life as it was leaving the body. Jane eventually made a mistake which got her arrested. She confessed 31 murders to her lawyer and pleaded insanity. Jane spent the rest of her life committed to Taunton insane hospital.
Genene Anne Jones (born July 13, 1950) is a former pediatric nurse who killed somewhere between 11 and 46 infants and children in her care. She used injections of digoxin, heparin and later succinylcholine to induce medical crises in her patients, with the intention of reviving them afterward in order to receive praise and attention. These medications are known to cause heart paralysis and other complications when given as an overdose. Many children however, did not survive the initial attack and could not be revived. The exact number of murders remain unknown, as hospital officials destroyed records of her activities to prevent further litigation after Jones’ first conviction. Two murders put her behind bars for 99 years and 60 years on top of that but due to a prison overcrowding law in place at her time of conviction, she will be eligible for automatic parole in 2017.
Kristen Gilbert (born November 13, 1967 as Kristen Strickland in Fall River, Massachusetts) is an American serial killer who was convicted for three first-degree murders, one second-degree murder, and two attempted murders of patients admitted for care at the VAMC (“Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center”) in Northampton, Massachusetts. She killed her patients by injecting them with epinephrine, at the time a ward stock medication and a non-controlled substance, causing them to have heart attacks. Her goal was to bring patients to the point of cardiac arrest and then “save them” by demonstrating advanced nursing skills. She was convicted March 14, 2001 in federal court. She was sentenced to life in prison without the chance for parole plus 20 years.
Charles Edmund Cullen (born February 22, 1960) is a former nurse and the most prolific serial killer in New Jersey history. Cullen told authorities in December 2003 that he had murdered as many as 40 patients during the 16 years he worked at 10 hospitals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Charles is serving eighteen consecutive life sentences in a New Jersey penitentiary. How was he able to go from hospital to hospital killing so many? Apparently, not one of those institutions gave Cullen a bad reference, or told other hospitals he was trouble. It amounted to a policy of “See no evil-speak no evil” one that gave Cullen, in effect, a license to kill.
There are unfortunately many more where this came from…
On the plus side though check out our “killer” collection of nurse costumes.