‘Bored nurse’ may have 12 more victims

Investigators said on Tuesday there are 12 additional cases where patients died in suspicious circumstances at a hospital where a nurse jailed in 2008 over patient deaths had worked.

'Bored nurse' may have 12 more victims
The defendant conceals his face from media during the new trial. Photo; DPA

The defendant, a 37-year-old man who admitted to injecting patients with a drug that causes heart and circulation problems between 2003 and 2005, had previously worked at a clinic in the northern town of Oldenburg.

Investigators there now say there are conclusive signs of external interference in the deaths of seven patients and that foul play was not ruled out in five more deaths.

A total of 56 patient deaths that occurred while the man worked at the Oldenburg clinic from 1999 to 2002 are now being probed. This brings the overall number of deaths under investigation at both clinics to more than 180.

Most occurred at the clinic in Delmenhorst, also in Lower Saxony, where the nurse had been regarded as a dedicated member of staff until he was found to have secretly given patients doses of Ajmaline.  

The man said earlier in his trial that boredom had prompted him to administer the drug so that he could demonstrate his resuscitation skills.

He was originally jailed for seven years in 2008 on charges of attempted murder and now stands accused of causing three patient deaths.

According to witnesses, he had boasted in prison that he stopped counting after the number of dead passed 50, raising fears of a major serial killing case if verified.

"Nowhere can a serial killer practise their dreadful trade undisturbed like a hospital or care home," Eugen Brysch, the chairman of the German Foundation for Patient Care, told the news agency dpa.

After the man's earlier conviction it was found that the rate of usage of Ajmaline had increased by almost 10 times at the Delmenhorst clinic between 2001 and 2005, and the death rate had also increased.

Staff at the Oldenburg clinic expressed shock at the possibility that the nurse had harmed patients there too over several years.

"It was unthinkable that someone from our ranks could have committed such acts," the clinic's general manager Dirk Tenzer said.

New proceedings were started after a woman whose mother also died in Delmenhorst heard of the case and brought new charges against the man.

SEE ALSO: Nurse 'killed patients because he was bored'

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Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

READ ALSO: The German rules of the road that are hard to get your head around

In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

READ ALSO: The German road signs that confuse foreigners