'Angel of death' suspect killings to be exumed

2nd August 2004, Comments 0 comments

2 August 2004 , KEMPTEN - German prosecutors announced Monday they will exhume the remains of 10 hospital patients amid fears there may have been other "angel of death" killings in a southern hospital. A 25-year-old male nurse admitted Thursday to injecting the 10 with sedatives and painkillers because they were "vegetating" and said he wanted to "release" them from further suffering in Sonthofen Hospital on the slopes of the Alps. In autopsies, pathologists will try to assess how much of the deadly drug c

2 August 2004

KEMPTEN - German prosecutors announced Monday they will exhume the remains of 10 hospital patients amid fears there may have been other "angel of death" killings in a southern hospital.

A 25-year-old male nurse admitted Thursday to injecting the 10 with sedatives and painkillers because they were "vegetating" and said he wanted to "release" them from further suffering in Sonthofen Hospital on the slopes of the Alps.

In autopsies, pathologists will try to assess how much of the deadly drug cocktail each patient received. Police have calculated the nurse had helped himself to enough sedatives and painkillers to kill 17 people.

The dead were aged 60 to 89 and had all been seriously ill. Police say there is no other indication yet of more killings, but hospital files are being scrutinized for any suspicious signs.

Other nurses on the ward discovered the killings after realizing that drugs disappearing.

Prosecutors in nearby Kempten said they intended to obtain more evidence by autopsy and other means, then re-open interrogation of the man, who is in custody.

On Sunday, the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag said the case was likely to be the worst mass murder ever committed in a German hospital. The man confessed the killings began in March 2003. The most recent of the deaths was on 10 July.

The drug cocktail used by the man relaxes the body to the point that the patient no longer has the energy to breathe, and dies.

German psychologists said the man's admission that he found the patients' sufferings unbearable and wanted to "help" them reflected in part a common feeling among inexperienced, young nursing staff who cannot maintain emotional distance from their work.

The German Hospice Foundation said Monday it believed a larger number of patients were being murdered in German hospitals and appealed for "radical change" in the system of treatment for the seriously ill.

The group advocates specialized nursing for the terminally ill.

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article