Public Called Outraged By “Health Care Killers”


Peter Harvey, the New Jersey attorney general, plans to sit across a table from Charles Cullen, the murderous nurse, and ask him how he killed so many people during his 16-year career, reports the Newark Star-Ledger. Among the big questions: How did he get the drugs? How did he remain undetected for so long? How could he have been stopped? “I’ll ask, ‘If you were trying to stop you, how would you do it?'” said Harvey, whose mother was a nurse. “Cullen should be a lesson for us. Let’s learn from the guy.”

It has been nearly a year since Cullen, 44, began confessing his crimes. Since then, new information has emerged to show hospitals knew Cullen posed a danger to patients, from the start of his career. Medical experts and law enforcement officials interviewed by the Star-Ledger said the system failed to protect patients on four fronts: Cullen’s problems were not reported to the state board of nursing. His disturbing behavior and bad nursing practices were not passed along to future employers. His theft of potentially dangerous drugs went largely unnoticed. His precarious psychological state, though known, did not trigger any intervention. So far, Cullen has pleaded guilty to 23 murders and five attempted murders, and investigations continue into his actions at four places. At least 72 health care providers worldwide have been charged with serial murder, with a total number of deaths attributed to them of more than 2,000, according to new research by Beatrice Yorker, director of the University of San Francisco School of Nursing and an expert on health care killers. “Cullen is a big case. There has been real shock and alarm at the number of patients and the length of his killing career,” said Yorker, who sits on a committee to study health care killers. “The public is outraged.”


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