The angel of death: Nurse who killed patients with an overdose of heart medication had at least FORTY-THREE victims, say German prosecutors

A German nurse who was convicted of killing patients by giving them overdoses of heart medication had at least 43 victims, prosecutors have revealed.

Last year Niels Hoegel was found guilty of two murders, two attempted murders and one count of serious bodily harm at a clinic in the northern town of Delmenhorst.

The crimes came to light in 2008 after Hoegel was convicted of attempted murder in another case.

 German nurse Niels Hoegel, who was convicted of killing patients by giving them overdoses of heart medication had at least 43 victims, prosecutors have revealed

 German nurse Niels Hoegel, who was convicted of killing patients by giving them overdoses of heart medication had at least 43 victims, prosecutors have revealed

And today it was revealed that he likely committed at least 37 homicides in Delmenhorst and an additional six in nearby Oldenburg.

Oldenburg prosecutors say they have indicted six former staff members at the Delmenhorst clinic who failed to report concerns about suspicious patient deaths. They face up to 15 years in prison, if convicted of negligent manslaughter.

Earlier this year, a judge ordered the bodies of 99 patients in Delmenhorst to be exhumed and the city’s police chief, Johann Kuehme, said toxicology tests showed some had the residue of the heart drug in their systems.

‘The horror doesn’t end. The investigations cannot be closed,’ said Mr Kuehme.

Hoegel’s trial heard he wanted to win approval from colleagues by resuscitating patients so he gave them overdoses of a drug that shut down their cardiovascular systems.

He admitted during the trial he had triggered cardiac arrests in 90 patients, 30 of whom died. He told the court he enjoyed the feeling of saving someone’s life.

Mr Kuehme said the investigators were also examining an unusually high number of patient deaths that occurred at a second hospital, in Oldenburg, where the nurse worked prior to Delmenhorst.

Hoegel's trial heard he wanted to win approval from colleagues by resuscitating patients so he gave them overdoses of a drug that shut down their cardiovascular systems

Hoegel’s trial heard he wanted to win approval from colleagues by resuscitating patients so he gave them overdoses of a drug that shut down their cardiovascular systems

Several hundred additional files of deceased patients are being examined and the investigation is expected to run into next year.

While managers at both hospitals are also being questioned to determine if they are criminally culpable for failing to notice the high number of deaths during Hoegel’s shifts.

Niels H’s trial heard he wanted to win approval from colleagues by resuscitating patients so he gave them overdoses of a drug that shut down their cardiovascular systems. 

He admitted during the trial he had triggered cardiac arrests in 90 patients, 30 of whom died. 

He told the court he enjoyed the feeling of saving someone’s life. 

 Earlier this year, a judge ordered the bodies of 99 patients in Delmenhorst to be exhumed and the city's police chief, Johann Kuehme, right, said toxicology tests showed some had the residue of the heart drug in their systems

 Earlier this year, a judge ordered the bodies of 99 patients in Delmenhorst to be exhumed and the city’s police chief, Johann Kuehme, right, said toxicology tests showed some had the residue of the heart drug in their systems

Mr Kuehme said the investigators were also examining an unusually high number of patient deaths that occurred at a second hospital, in Oldenburg, where the nurse worked prior to Delmenhorst. 

Prosecutor Daniela Schiereck-Bohlmann said: ‘We cannot say how many of the patients in Oldenburg were victims.’

The police and prosecutors said there was a ‘strong suspicion’ Niels H had killed at least six patients at the Oldenburg hospital by injecting heart medication or toxic doses of potassium.

Several hundred additional files of deceased patients are being examined and the investigation is expected to run into next year.

Several managers at both hospitals are also being questioned to determine if they are criminally culpable for failing to notice the high number of deaths during Niels H’s shifts.