Analysis of Killer Nurses in Literature

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Angel of death is a term used to refer to caregivers who commit a criminal offense of killing or harming patient under their care. Angel of mercy is used to refer to caregivers in a position of power who kill patient under their care as they feel they should not continue suffering from the severe illness. The nurses usually use their medical knowledge and experiences to kill the patients. The typical method used to terminate a patient life is administering a drug overdose such as insulin. The killer nurses poison their patients by administering too much insulin which causes their blood glucose to rise to dangerous resulting in death. Insulin is a medication that should only be administered to the patient whose pancreases do not produce enough insulin to control their blood glucose.

One of the motivations for the killer nurse is the belief that the patient should not experience too much suffering or they are beyond help; hence they consider ending their lives to save them the pain. It is a criminal offense as every patient has a right to live, and also according to medical ethics nurses should refrain from undertaking actions that may harm the patients. Nurses are also required to work to the best of the discretion to save lives as opposed to taking away life. Therefore, killer nurses are treated as criminal offenders as they act against humanity. Another characteristic of killer nurses is that they are sadist. A sadist characteristic means that they use their position to exercise control and power over victims who are helpless (Field & Pearson, 2011). Patient suffering from severe and chronic illnesses are helpless; hence they depend on nurses interventions. The nurses take advantage of their patients' helpless situation, their power, and position to end the patient's life.

Additionally, killer nurses are motivated to end the life of the patients under their care to attract attention as a malignant hero. To be considered as malignant heroes, killer nurses put the patient's life in danger and goes ahead to "save" them (Field & Pearson, 2011). Some of them even try to resuscitate the patient while they know very well the patient has already passed on or is beyond help, but their aim is to been seen to making efforts selflessly. Killer nurses are motivated to end the life of patient under their care because of money, their power, and position, a sense of sadistic pleasure, or because their belief they are saving the patient from pain. There are real examples where killer nurses inject patients with harmful drugs or overdose, and later rush to save the patient to appear as heroes to the patient's family. The motive of the excitement of putting patient life to an end is regarded as a factitious disorder.

Jurisdiction of nurses of murder patients focuses on opportunity, means, and motive. The motive of medical practitioners who kill the patient under their care is mostly attributed to the pleasure for killing, financial gain, or romantic interest. Sometimes medical practitioners terminate the patient's life prematurely to end their suffering from a chronic illness, often regarded as the mercy killing (Beer, Gastmans, & Casterle, 2004). Usually, cases of mercy killing go unnoticed and are rarely prosecuted, but the fact is the medical practitioner has committed a criminal offense of ending a patient life. There is no set conditions that should lead to killing a patient by nurse, therefore there is no acceptable as to why a nurse murdered a patient (Shield, 2014). When a patient life is put to an end prematurely by a nurse, there is great criticism on the nursing staff working the ward as they supposed to identify and respond to the problem before the patient was murdered. The nursing practices encourage close working relationships and collaboration between nurses, an aspect which may constrain the opportunity for nurses to kill patients (Debono et al. 2013). The public trust their life to the medical practitioner when in need of medical attention; therefore they are fascinated by the aspect that some nurses intentionally kill patients regardless of them to suffering a terminal illness. The public fails to understand why and who would commit such an act. Nurse killers are attention seekers who seek to exercise their power, position, and control especially when feel they are helpless in their lives.

In conclusion, nurse killers who intentionally murder patient commit the greatest violence as they deny the patient the right to live. Nurse killer finds it easy to end the life of a patient as it only requires injecting the patient with a drug overdose to cause a cardiac arrest or death. Most of them claim to suffer from mental illness while committing the act. The fact is that they are usually not mentally ill, but often, have personality problems or other disorders. The aspect of nurses seeking satisfaction through intentionally murdering patients is associated with excess intake of drugs, alcohol, and cutting of wrists. Therefore, killer nurses should not be spared but be punished for their inhumane acts to protect patients from premature deaths triggered by medical practitioners.


Beer T.D, Gastmans C., & Casterle B. D. (2004).  Involvement of nurses in euthanasia: a review

of the literature Journal of Medical Ethics, 30:494-498.

Debono et al. 2013. Nurses’ workarounds in acute healthcare settings: a scoping review. Journal

of Health services Research, 13(4): 175 doi: [10.1186/1472-6963-13-175]

Field J., & Pearson A. (2011). Caring to death: the murder of patients by nurses. International

Journal of Nursing Practice, 16(3):301-309 doi: 10.1111/j.1440-172X.2010.01845.x.

Shields L. (2014). The core business of caring: A nursing oxymoron? The Australian Journal of

Practice Nursing Practice, 21(3): 193-199

October 13, 2023

Health Profession



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