A German nurse who estimates he killed about 30 patients with injections of a cardiac drug told a court Thursday he was sorry and had felt “crushed” each time.
“I really am very sorry,” said the nurse, 38, whose name has been withheld under privacy guidelines.
He has been charged with three murders and two attempted murders. The man is serving seven-and-a-half years in prison on a 2008 conviction for an attempted murder at the hospital.
The new cases emerged when records of deaths from 2003 to 2005 at Delmenhorst Hospital in Germany’s north-west were reviewed.
He has told a psychologist he gave overdoses of ajmaline to about 90 frail, elderly patients so he could demonstrate heroism and skill by reviving them. About 30 died.
In court, he said this was true, but declined to give more detailed testimony. The extra cases have not been added to the indictment, but are likely to be brought to trial in future if sufficient evidence emerges.
In his most comprehensive statement in the court in the city of Oldenburg so far, just before final arguments and the verdict, he described his mental state before each attack, saying, “I felt excitement and this expectation that something was about to happen.”
He said that when he succeeded in bringing back patients from the brink of death, he felt good. When he failed to resuscitate them, “I felt crushed.” He added that usually led to a resolution not to take the risk again, but this never lasted long, fading as time went by.
“Mostly the decision to do it again came along relatively spontaneously,” he said. Looking for the first time since the trial began at relatives of the victims in the public gallery, he said he hoped his admission would help them to cope.
Police are reviewing his entire working career at various healthy centres.
His admission puts the Delmenhorst case on a par with 28 killings of the very ill by a nurse in Sonthofen, southern Germany, for which that man received a life prison sentence in 2006.