The world has always had a peculiar take on hospital nurses, from the strange uniforms and hats they were forced to wear practically until the 1990s to the overly-sexualized versions that have become a mainstay each Halloween. While nurses were once thought of as little more than just orderlies with a cuter outfit, the world has given them more of the respect they deserve. Nowadays, a registered nurse is a highly respected position that is increasingly in demand. While other fields have been dwindling in recent years, the nursing profession has grown by leaps and bounds. More and more nurses are being asked to continue their education, and many hospitals even offer tuition reimbursement for nurses that choose to acquire an advanced degree during employment.
Yet, not all of the headlines that have come from the nursing profession have been positive. In fact, some of the stories that have come from nurses have shown just how difficult nurses have it in their line of work. While people already have a fear of hospitals due to the super bacteria found in the buildings, some of the headlines that have come out about nurses haven’t been exactly favorable. Although there are certainly a great number of nurses that have mastered the art of bedside manner, there are also those who have become jaded to those in pain and suffering. From nurses that have intentionally hurt patients to nurses that have actually committed crimes, check out our list of some of the most shocking nurse headlines that have caused people to further their fear of hospitals.
15. Nurse Leaves Newborn Babies Unattended During Fire
On August 16, 2010, Florentina Daniela Cirstea was the head nurse in charge of the newborn unit in the ICU at Giulesti Maternity Hospital in Bucharest, Romania. Because of security reasons, only Cirstea had the access card that granted access to this secured area. Surveillance camera footage showed that while Cirstea was supposed to be on duty watching over the newborns, she had left several times throughout the day to visit a different part of the hospital where she partook in a celebratory party of some sort. During a time when she left the newborns unattended, an electrical fire started from an attached cable to an air-conditioning unit within the intensive care room. When another medical staff member called out for help during the fire, Cirstea couldn’t be found in time to retrieve the access card. After breaking through the door, it was discovered that five newborns died from the severe burns acquired by the fire. Six of the other babies were injured, and Cristea was charged with murder due to her lack of supervision while on duty.
14. Nurses Post Patient Photos Online
The two professions that are thought of as safe in divulging all the inner secrets and personal information of an individual are doctors and lawyers. Although it may be ultra embarrassing or difficult to get out, everyone thinks of a doctor’s and lawyer’s office as “safe.” While nurses are also forced to adhere to the same code of conduct as doctors, there is at least one case that proved that some nurses aren’t exactly as trustworthy. In February 2009, Walworth County Undersheriff Kurt Picknell released a statement saying, “There were two nurses that independently took a picture each of an X-ray of a patient.” Nurses are often subject to seeing the weird and shocking incidents involving patients, and this particular incident was just that. A patient came in with something lodged in the rectum, which required an x-ray. When the nurses realized that it was a sex device, they snapped photos and then posted them on Facebook. An anonymous call to Mercy Walworth Medical Center alerted officials to the incident, and most notably the patients’ rights were violated. The moral of the story isn’t just that patients should be weary of who is looking at their x-rays but also that nurses that value their jobs shouldn’t be posting patient photos on the Internet.
13. Hurricane Katrina Nurses Aid In Killing Patients
Among the many health facilities affected during the chaos of Hurricane Katrina was Louisiana hospital, Memorial Medical Center. While the world sat in horror with videos of people stuck on their roofs without food or water and horror stories came out of the Superdome, medical professionals were dealing with their own nightmares while trying to save the lives of their patients. Many patients were stranded at hospitals without the care that was required to maintain their health. Yet, three medical professionals decided to take things into their own hands by giving lethal doses of drugs to four elderly patients that weren’t able to be evacuated. Dr. Anna Pou and two nurses, Chery Landry and Lori Budo, were arrested for administering lethal doses of morphine sulphate and midazolam. Spokeswoman for Attorney General Charles C. Foti, Kris Wartelle, released a statement saying, “We’re not calling this euthanasia. We’re not calling this mercy killings. This is second-degree murder.” Samples were taken from over 34 patients that died during the Hurricane Katrina chaos, and testing came up positive for lethal doses of these drugs.
12. Nurse Steals Morphine From Patients
In January 2016, Karen Lynn Spearman was working as a nurse at the Martha T. Berry Medical facility. Managers at the facility began suspecting Spearman of siphoning off morphine that was intended for patients. She had been adding water to morphine vials to conceal the fact that she had been siphoning off morphine, which was revealed due to puncture holes in the vials and leaks coming from where she had stolen the drug. Spearman had further tried to conceal the theft by placing the extracted morphine into a separate container and placing it in a garbage bag. Management confronted Spearman where she was required to take a mandatory drug test, but she fled to her vehicle and then struck another employee during her getaway attempt. 53-year-old, Spearman, was charged with three felonies that hold with it eight years of imprisonment. While most professions that discover its employees are stealing from the job usually entail just a few pencils or some paper clips, Spearman’s theft as a nurse involves stronger allegations that include misbranding drugs and medicine for patient use.
11. Nurse Admits To Being An Addict
While Hollywood tends to glorify drug-addicted nurses like Nurse Jackie, thinking about real world nurses being hooked on drugs meant for patients isn’t exactly as glamorous as Edie Falco makes it seem. Kristin Waite-Labott can attest to this since she was a nurse at a Milwaukee hospital when she was caught stealing drugs. In an interview with Fox6, Waite-Labott stated, “It occurred to me one day when I was working in an emergency room that we throw away a lot of awfully good drugs. I just couldn’t, I couldn’t stop it.” She was ultimately caught and jailed for her crimes, but she offered some insight into the problems surrounding nurses self-medicating due to the stresses of the job. She claimed that it was a method she used to cope with the stress that came from dealing with life and death issues from daily life as a nurse. Yet, she seemed to pull her life together after returning from jail and even became a published author, writing the book, An Unlikely Addict.
10. Facebook Accredited For Rescue Of “Nurse” Abducted Baby
In March 2014, Mélissa McMahon had given birth to her daughter, Victoria, at a hospital in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec. With Victoria being only 1-day-old, a 21-year-old woman dressed in scrubs entered her hospital room and left with the newborn baby wrapped in a blanket. Another hospital staff member recognized that the baby had been kidnapped, and within just a few hours a plethora of information was posted on social media regarding the Amber Alert information. A photo of the kidnapper taken from surveillance footage, as well as vehicle information was plastered all over the Internet. The baby’s father, Simon Boisclair, also went to his Facebook page with a short status post that read, “Help us please. Our daughter who is just a day old has been taken. Share as quickly as possible.” Other family members also turned to Facebook with pleas to help find the baby, as well as her abductor. Their posts were shared tens of thousands of times, which was seen by four local teens that recognized the woman from the surveillance photo. The teens drove to the woman’s house and realized the car that was also named in the investigation was parked outside of her apartment. After calling police, the baby was able to be reunited with her family within just a few hours of being kidnapped. The McMahon family accredits Facebook for helping to aid them in finding their abducted infant.
9. Baby Stolen By “Nurse” And Reunited With Family After 19 Years
Celeste Nurse had just given birth to her daughter, Zephany, at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, when she was dozing off next to her newborn baby. She remembered seeing a woman in a nurse’s uniform within her room, as her newborn was nearby on a cot. When she awoke, another nurse was in the room and demanding to know where her baby was. As it turned out, her baby had been kidnapped from her room by a woman that is now known to have been posing as a hospital nurse. The kidnapping mystery had remained unsolved, although the Nurse family had celebrated Zephany’s birthday with each passing year. In 2015, the mystery was finally solved when a DNA test with Zephany (who was attending the same school as the Nurse’s other biological daughter) proved that they had finally found their missing daughter. The kidnapper was sentenced to 10 years in jail, although she claimed that she was not the one who impersonated the nurse and was only guilty of paying a woman to “find” her a child to adopt. She claimed that she had a miscarriage, and was trying to find a baby that she could pass off as her own so that her husband wouldn’t find out.
8. Nurse Kills 8 Babies And Buries Them At Her Home
In late July 2010, French nursing assistant, Dominique Cottrez, was charged with killing eight of her babies shortly after giving birth to them. Initially, her husband, Pierre-Marie Cottrez, was also taken into custody. However, further investigation showed that Dominique had kept all eight of her pregnancies and births a secret from everyone, including her husband. Since she had gained quite a lot of weight after the birth of her first two children, the people in her life never noticed a difference in her appearance when she became pregnant the other eight times. The crimes were committed between 1989 and 2006, where she allegedly suffocated all eight of the newborns shortly after their birth. The bodies of the infants were found in two separate homes owned by the Cottrez family during that 17-year span. Cottrez’s lawyer, Frank Berton, spoke out after she was charged and said, “She doesn’t have to carry this on her conscience any more, and that’s a kind of relief.”
7. Male Nurse Charged Assaults Special Needs Patient
Jordan Donalson, a Licensed Practical Nurse, at the Erie County Medical Center was charged with rape and sexual abuse in June 2016. The charge of sexual abuse was brought forth through the NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs, and Special Prosecutor, Patricia Gunning, released a statement saying, “The patient in this case was receiving necessary care at ECMC, and as such is legally incapable of consenting to sexual conduct with this defendant.” Because the case was brought forth by the organization that focuses on those with Special Needs, a plethora of other issues has arisen surrounding the allegations surrounding how medical professionals are allowed to interact with patients of a particular nature. Donalson was 23-years-old at the time of the rape charge, and was immediately put on administrative leave pending further investigation. Regardless of whether or not the sexual intercourse was consensual or not, there is a definite moral code violation for a nursing professional to have sex with a patient while on duty and on facility grounds.
6. Nurse Steals Drugs And Infects Patients With Bacteria
Nurse, Stefanie A. Jones, was working at UW Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin when she was arrested in June 2013. Between the months of October and March, Jones allegedly stole syringes filled with morphine and hydromorphone and also siphoned off vials that were intended for patients. While the theft of drugs by a nurse definitely grabbed people’s attention, it was the accounts that came afterward that were the most shocking. The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services showed records stating that Jones did not wear gloves during much of her work at the hospital, which effectively gave five of her patient bacterial infections and subsequently one of the patients died. Despite the other deplorable acts (including one where she was stealing drugs from one of her cancer patients), it was her lack of glove wearing that had most people’s jaws dropping to the flaw. While hospitals are thought of as ultra clean and sanitary, it’s difficult to think that it would be the nurses that would be the one’s transmitting the bacterial diseases to get you sick.
5. Ebola Nurse Conceals Her Symptoms
In 2014, Scottish nurse, Pauline Cafferkey, was working as a volunteer in west Africa during the Ebola epidemic. During this time, the world was in a frenzy over how other nations would be able to restrict the spread of this deadly virus. Individuals were required to divulge if they traveled to certain areas of the globe, and those who had were required to report whether or not they had been in contact with Ebola or any of its symptoms. By her own admission, Cafferkey almost died twice while working with Ebola patients in west Africa but was cleared of Ebola and was able to travel when returning to the UK from Sierra Leone. Yet, she reportedly had a remaining symptom of Ebola when she left the Public Health England’s screening facility at Heathrow airport, and failed to report it. Cafferkey practically caused an outright panic in the UK, which resulted in an investigation by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Yet, she was ultimately cleared of any misconduct and was not held liable for putting the public in danger due to her lack of reporting her symptom.
4. Nurse Drugs And Assaults 19-Year-Old
When someone enters a hospital, it is understood that the medical professionals will conduct themselves in a manner that will help to heal their wounds and not to inflict new ones. Yet, one case that occurred on September 15, 2016 in Onipanu, Lagos was so horrifying that it seems unfathomable. Olugbenga Isaac was a 27-year-old working as a male nurse when he was called in to the room of a 19-year-old patient that was complaining of a toothache. Isaac allegedly injected her with a sleeping drug, at which point the patient lost consciousness. Inspector Clifford Ogu addressed the court after Isaac’s arrest and stated, “The complainant regained consciousness after several hours and was bleeding from her private part. It then dawned on her that she had been raped.” Isaac has denied the charges, but if found guilty, it carries with it a stiff penalty. Section 258 of their legal code states that if convicted, Isaac will be liable to life in prison for this crime.
3. “Nurse” Steals Baby From Hospital
In January 2016, a 27-year-old mother went to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center with her 2-day-old baby at the Child Survival Center when she was confronted by a woman who she thought was a nurse. The woman was dressed in scrubs that were commonly worn by VSMMC medical personnel, but was not wearing the required employee ID tag. The “nurse” informed the mother that her baby was required to receive an anti-dengue shot in the laboratory, which is an area that parents are not allowed to enter. As the mother and father looked on, the “nurse” took the baby and began walking out the exit door towards the parking lot. Although the parents tried to go after her, they were unable to proceed due to a blocked security area. After obtaining surveillance footage from the hospital, management announced that the woman was not an employee. In an interview with The Inquirer, the VSMMC Information Officer stated, “How the female imposter was able to enter the hospital undetected in a daytime security breach is the subject of ongoing investigation.”
2. Nurse Attempts To Kill Patients To Free Up Beds
Barbara Salisbury was working as a ward sister at Leighton Hospital, Crewe, when she allegedly tried to kill at least four patients between the years of 1999 and 2001. Salisbury was reportedly motivated to hasten the deaths of elderly patients to free up the beds for new patients. Her alleged offenses were reported by junior nurses who witnessed certain offenses. One of the allegations involving 76-year-old James Byrne where she administered the wrong dosage of drugs during his stay. Another allegation involved 81-year-old Reuben Thompson where she removed his oxygen supply and put pressure to his back to allow his lungs to fill with fluid. She was ultimately found guilty of two counts of attempted murder for the deaths of 88-year-old Frances May Taylor and 92-year-old Frank Owen. During the trial, Prosecuting barrister, Robin Spencer, stated, “Easing the passage from life to death is one thing, deliberately accelerating death or attempting to do so is quite another.”
1. Nurse Purposefully Kills Patients For The Thrill Of Reviving Them
When a nurse is responsible for saving the life of a patient, there is inevitably a thrill that can come from doing one’s job well and receiving the acclaim of one’s peers. Yet, the situation is completely turned on its side when it’s the nurse that was actually responsible for putting the patient’s life in harm’s way in the first place. While working as a nurse at Horton General Hospital in Banbury, Oxfordshire, Benjamin Geen was convicted of murdering two of the patients and injuring more than 10 others. Allegedly, Geen revelled in the thrill of being able to revive the patients after injecting them with drugs that created a “dry drowning” effect that caused respiratory difficulties. With each of the incidents that occurred involving these patients, Geen was on duty during the period between December 2003 and February 2004. Upon arresting Geen, police found in his possession a syringe that had traces of drugs that were used to paralyze patients (the same drugs that were used in the other incidents involving death and injury).