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World
23 Jan 2018

This German nurse killed over 100 patients out of 'boredom'

A German nurse, serving life term for two murders and three attempted murders of intensive-care patients, was on Monday charged for 97 other killings.

Niels Hoegel, 41, killed several patients between 1999 and 2005 at two medical facilities, Oldenburg and Delmenhorst, in northwestern Germany, primarily to dispel his boredom with life.

He was awarded life sentence in February 2015.

Read on for more.

In context

The German nurse who killed over 100 patients
A murderous, obsessive psychopath

Confession

A murderous, obsessive psychopath

During interrogation, Hoegel admitted to injecting drugs in at least 90 patients that caused heart failure or circulatory collapse.

He would then try to revive them, wanting to be seen as a savior by his colleagues. Hoegel also claimed that he'd be devastated every time he failed.

The power of being able to resuscitate patients thrilled him in an otherwise boring life, he confessed.

Backstory

Hoegel was first caught in June 2005

Hoegel was first caught in June 2005, when a female nurse caught him unnecessarily injecting a patient at Delmenhorst hospital.

Though the patient survived, Hoegel was arrested and awarded 7.5 years jail term in June 2008 over several cases of attempted murder.

Following the media uproar, a woman contacted police, voicing suspicion over her mother's death, which then resulted in a detailed probe.

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Actual number of killings may never be known

Investigation

Actual number of killings may never be known

Police and prosecutors launched a full-blown investigation at both the hospitals where Hoegel had worked.

They reviewed over 500 patient files, hospital records, exhumed 134 bodies from 67 cemeteries, and interrogated Hoegel six times.

Because of Hoegel's drug administration, 62 patients died in Delmenhorst and 35 in Oldenburg. But police say these numbers are underreported and that the actual extent may never be known.

Findings

'Post-war Germany's worst killing spree'

Police have called the horrific case post-war Germany's worst killing spree, saying that the death toll might rise as the probe gets deeper.

Though they found no "discernible pattern" in Hoegel's modus operandi, they said he favored "those in critical condition".

"The insights are terrifying, they surpass what we could have imagined," said Johann Kuehme, Oldenburg's police chief told news agency AFP.

The deaths could have been prevented

Aftermath

The deaths could have been prevented

Had the hospitals informed the police timely about the killer nurse, several lives could have been saved and Hoegel could have been stopped much sooner.

The senior medical staff at Delmenhorst and Oldenburg are now under scanner. Many of them face trials for ignoring the rising number of suspicious deaths and letting Hoegel roam around scot-free.

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