German Nurse Admits To Killing Over 90 Patients 'Out Of Boredom'

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Niels Högel admitted in a courtroom this week to lethally injecting hundreds of patients with heart medication they didn't need, resulting in scores of deaths.

A nurse from Oldenburg, Germany, already convicted of six counts of murdering his patients, is being charged with 97 additional counts of murder that he admitted to doing “out of boredom.”

Niels Högel, 40, made the admission in the courtroom where he described his method for killing. He explained that he’d first give his patients unnecessary heart medications, leading to heart failure, after which he would use methods to try to revive them.

A pattern of his abuse was missed by hospital officials, police explained.

“If the people responsible at the time, particularly at the Oldenburg clinic but also later in Delmenhorst, hadn't hesitated to alert authorities — for example police prosecutors — Högel could have been apprehended sooner,” Police Chief Johann Kühme said.

Police are describing Högel's killings as “unique in the history of the German republic.” Högel said his motivation for killing came out of boredom, explaining he felt an immense sense of euphoria after he was able to bring someone back to life.

The charges against Högel were brought against him on Monday, yet it is not the first time he’s been charged with similar crimes.

Högel was first charged in 2008 with attempted murder. That prompted a woman, who recognized Högel in media reports, to question whether her mother had been murdered while under his care, leading to more questions about individuals for whom Högel had cared.

In 2015, Högel admitted to injecting 90 individuals with medications they didn’t need, saying at the time at least 30 individuals had died as a result. He was convicted of six murders at that time as investigations continued.

After exhuming scores of bodies, it was determined back in August that 88 more individuals had died at his hands. Högel’s admission this week brings that number up to 97 — and it could be even higher, given that some of his patients were cremated, and evidence of wrongdoing is unattainable.

When our loved ones enter the care of hospital staff, there is a certain level of trust that we give to them, hoping for a good outcome. Högel’s actions and others like them have put significant doubts in the minds of many whose loved ones are being cared for in hospitals in Germany and around the world, who may now question whether nurses like him have had similar tendencies.

It’s an unfortunate situation because, by far, most caregivers are doing legitimate and difficult work to ensure care is administered in a proper way. The hospitals Högel worked for should have paid more mind to the increasing number of patients not getting better or dying under his watch. Because they didn’t, they now face the difficult task of restoring public trust in the administration of their services.

Banner/thumbnail image credit: Flickr, daveynin

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