Nykøbing Falster Hospital. Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Scanpix
The 30-year-old nurse who was arrested in March over what police called “mysterious deaths” at the public hospital in Nykøbing Falster is being investigated in the deaths of up to ten patients.
The woman has been in custody since March 2nd and made a court appearance in Nykøbing on Tuesday. Her initial court appearance was held behind ‘double closed doors', meaning that the media was not told the charges nor the name of the accused.
On Tuesday, the session was open to the public but the woman has still not been publicly identified. She was charged with an additional count of murder and had her her custody was extended for an additional four weeks after the judge ruled that there was sufficient evidence pointing to the woman’s involvement in a suspicious patient death in 2012.
According to broadcaster DR, prosecuting attorney Jeanette Andersen told the court that the patients who died mysteriously on February 28th had lethal amounts of morphine and stesolid in their systems. The woman also faces attempted murder charges over a fourth patient, who also had lethal amounts of the blood in her system. That patient was resuscitated by the suspect and survived.
Another nurse at the hospital claims to have seen the 30-year-old leaning over a recently-deceased patient and subsequently attempting to hide two needles under her arm when discovered by her colleague. During that same shift, police suspect that the 30-year-old woman killed two other patients died and attempted to kill one more.
Andersen said that police found a needle that they consider to be a murder weapon. It contained a mixture of three drugs that wouldn’t normally be mixed together.
In their investigation, police discovered that has many as ten other patients died from similar heart failures while the same nurse was on duty. The nurse first joined the hospital in 2009 when there were 87 deaths at the ward. In 2011 there were 95 deaths and in 2012, when the nurse stopped working in October of that year, there were 75 deaths. In the following two years when the nurse was not at the ward, 51 people died.
“A disproportionate number of patients died on the suspect’s watch,” Andersen said in court according to DR’s report.
The woman denied the charges against her.
“Being accused of something you haven't done is horrible. There are a lot of rumours about all sorts of things and my life has been destroyed. My family is suffering a lot, not least my 7-year-old daughter,” the accused woman told the court, tabloid B.T. reported.
Nykøbing Falster Hospital services around 150,000 residents of southern Zealand and the islands of Lolland and Falster. The 250-bed hospital has roughly 1,100 employees.