When you visit a hospital, the expectation is that you will be taken care of. We expect that if we are in need of medical attention, doctors and nurses will do everything in their power to cure us. A patient basically puts their life into the hands of doctors and nurses with the hopes that they will make things better. Unfortunately, medical professionals are not always as helpful as they may seem. Although thankfully it is uncommon, a number of doctors and nurses have taken advantage of the trust that their patients place in them and in some of these instances, the results of this misplaced trust have been deadly. Below is a list of ten murderous nurses. These nurses took what is supposed to be a caretaker position and turned it into a deadly affair. Some of these nurses managed to get away with their heinous acts for years, while patient after patient died under their watchful eye. Others were caught relatively quickly and were forced to pay for their crimes with their life. However quickly these killer nurses were caught, one thing is certain, the gruesome murders that they committed will continue to live on in infamy.
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10 Jane Toppan
Jane Toppan was a nurse who began her training at Cambridge Hospital. During her residency, Toppan would perform experiments on her patients with the aid of morphine and atrophine. Toppan used different dosages of the two drugs to see the effect that it has on her patient’s nervous system. However, Toppan’s patients weren’t her only victims. In 1901, Toppan moved in with Alden Davis after his wife, who Toppan had murdered, passed away. Just weeks later, Davis and his two daughters were dead. Eventually, a toxicology exam was ordered for Davis’ youngest daughter, and the report proved that her death was a result of poisoning. In 1902, Toppan confessed to 31 murders, she was eventually committed to the Taunton Insane Hospital for life.
9 Kristen Gilbert
Kristen Gilbert became a nurse at the VAMC in Northampton, in 1989. During her time there, nurses began to notice that an unusual amount of patients died in Gilbert’s presence. Initially, the nurses joked about the coincidences calling her the “Angel of Death.” Eventually the other nurses began to become more and more suspicious. The nurses voiced their concerns and an investigation ensued. After an investigation in which Gilbert called in multiple bomb threats to derail investigators, it was discovered that Gilbert induced cardiac arrest in her patients by injecting them with a large dose of epinephrine and would then respond to the emergency. Gilbert was convicted of three first-degree murders, one second-degree murder, and two attempted murders and sentenced to life in prison.
8 Lainz Angels of Death
Maria Gruber, Irene Leidolf, Stephanija Mayker and Waltraud Wagner, were a group of nurses who murdered as many as 200 people from 1983 to 1989. Wagner was the first of the group to discover how much she enjoyed killing. After she took her first patient’s life in 1983, with a morphine overdose, she recruited the three other nurses to help her murder weak patients. The group would perform their kills by having one person hold the victims head and pinch their nose, while another would pour water into the victim’s lungs until they drowned. Eventually the group was caught after a Doctor heard them bragging about their latest victim. They ended up confessing to 49 murders, although many people believe they were responsible for many more deaths. Wagner and Leidolf both received life sentences while Mayer and Gruber received 15 and 20 years. However, by 2008 all four had been released from prison for good behavior.
7 Joseph Dewey Akin
Joseph Dewey Akin worked in Cooper Green Hospital, Alabama, in 1991. Like so many others on this list, coworkers that worked alongside Akin started noticing that patients tended to die more frequently around Akin than any other nurses. Eventually Akin was convicted of one murder and given a life sentence. Akin’s victim was Robert J. Price, who died after a Lidocaine overdose that was given to him by Akin. Police believe that Akin got a thrill out of playing God with his patients and that he played a crucial role in 16 other deaths besides the one that he was convicted of.
6 Stephan Letter
Stephan Letter worked as a nurse in a hospital that catered mostly to the elderly population. During his time at the hospital, there were a number of suspicious deaths that occurred when he was working. Eventually, foul play was suspected and the bodies of 40 patients were exhumed to determine the cause of death. Letter became the main suspect after vials of lysethenon were found in his apartment. Letter eventually confessed to killing 29 patients, although it is believed that he could have killed upwards of 80. The former nurse ended up receiving life in prison in 2006. The slew of murders that Letter committed has actually been considered the worst killing spree in Germany since WWII.
5 Beverley Allitt
Beverley Allitt worked as a nurse at the children’s ward at Grantham and Kesteven Hospital. During a 59-day period, Allitt attacked thirteen children, killing four of them. The other nurses working at the hospital began to become suspicious after they noticed that there was a high number of cardiac arrests that were occurring in the children’s ward. The police were brought in and it was soon discovered that Allitt was the only nurse who was working during every attack. Allitt pleaded not guilty but ended up being convicted of 4 counts of murder, 11 counts of attempted murder, and 11 counts of causing grievous bodily harm. Allitt received thirteen life sentences for her heinous crimes.
4 Dorothea Waddingham
Although Dorothea Waddingham was not a medically trained nurse, she did run a nursing home near Nottingham, England, which qualifies her for this list. Around 1935, Waddingham took in a woman named Mrs. Baguley and her daughter Ada, into her nursing home so she could care for them. While Ada and her mother resided in the nursing home, Ada wrote up a new will that left everything to Waddingham. Later that same year, both Ada and her mother passed away. No suspicions were raised about the two deaths until a man called Dr. Cyril Banks ordered a post-mortem on the bodies. It was soon discovered that both Ada and her mother had died of morphine poisoning. Waddingham was hanged for her crimes on April 16, 1936.
3 Genene Anne Jones
Genene Anne Jones was working at the Bexar County Hospital when it was discovered that a suspicious amount of children were dying under her watchful eye. But instead of reporting the incidents to the police, the hospital quietly let her go. The nurse then took up a position at a pediatric clinic in Kerrville, Texas. It was at this hospital that Jones was finally brought to justice for her crimes. Investigators discovered that Jones would use different drugs to induce medical crises in her patients. Jones would then come to the rescue of her patients in order to receive praise for her hard work. Jones was sentenced to 99 years and then 60 years in prison for two murders, although it is believed that she probably committed upwards of 60. She is scheduled for release in 2017, due to overcrowding.
2 Efren Saldivar
Efren Saldivar worked as a respiratory therapist when he killed upwards of 50 people. Saldivar would perform his murderous deeds by injecting his patients with a paralytic drug that would either lead to respiratory failure or cardiac arrest. Saldivar managed to continue his murders for quite a while due to his choice of victims. Saldivar would only kill patients that were close to death, this made it nearly impossible to determine if there were a rise in patient deaths when Saldivar was working. On March 13, 1998, Saldivar confessed to 50 murders but later retracted his statement. He was eventually convicted of six counts of murder and received 6 consecutive life sentences.
1 Daniela Poggiali
Former nurse Daniela Poggiali made headlines everywhere after she posted a selfie of herself with a corpse. This led to an even more horrifying realization that Poggiali was suspected of drip-feeding her patients with potassium chloride in order to kill them. Prosecutors believe that Poggiali may have killed as many as 93 patients and maybe even three in a single day. If this is proved to be true, it would make Poggiali the most prolific serial killer nurse in the world. Poggiali, who enjoys playing God, reportedly killed her patients if she thought they were being annoying. It has also been reported that Poggiali would steal cash and belongings from her victims. The former nurse is currently in jail where she has received multiple proposals and a lot of fan mail.
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