Thursday, June 6, 2019

German nurse gets life sentence for drugging & killing 85 patients to showcase resuscitation skills

Niels Hoegel attends his trial in Oldenburg, Germany on June 5, 2019. ©  Reuters / Mohssen Assanimoghaddam/POOL

A verdict issued on Thursday morning from the court in Oldenburg, Germany, brought to an end what is widely considered the worst serial murder case in the country’s post-war history. Niels Hoegel, 42, was convicted of killing two patients back in 2015, but new evidence suggested he was involved in many more patient deaths.

Hoegel pushed dozens of his patients to the brink of death by injecting them with potent drugs as he worked in two local hospitals between 2000 and 2005. He would then show up and resuscitate them in an effort to gain praise from his colleagues. But in numerous cases, his lifesaving attempts failed.

While prosecutors sought 97 murder convictions, Hoegel’s defense accepted responsibility for the deaths of 55 people. In the final days of the trial, he issued apologies to the relatives of the people who died because of his actions.

A psychiatric report revealed Hoegl was not suffering from any severe personality disorder but characterized him as “lacking shame, guilt, remorse and empathy.”

RT spoke with Frank Brinkers whose father was one of Högel’s victims, a fact he became aware of only a decade and a half later.

Those old wounds were not just opened, they were ripped apart,” he said regarding today’s verdict. Brinkers blamed “a culture of looking away” for allowing Högel’s crimes to go unnoticed for so long.
Sabrina Lindwehr, a lawyer representing one of the victim’s fathers, had a similar perspective. “It’s not only the system of hospitals or the people who are working in those hospitals,” the main problem, she believes, is individuals who suspect something but think “it’s not my fault, it’s not my case” and move on.

The legal representative for the victims’ families, Gaby Luebben, stressed the need to create a system for providing anonymous information at hospitals, and include it as a part of medical training.

German law excludes consecutive life sentences but the court’s judgment leaves Hoegel no practical chance of getting parole throughout his term.



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