Tuesday, 26 April 2011

HOSPITALS CAN BE DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH









I would have liked to have known a bit more about his clashes with authority - his tutors. I don't think this is really a very good documentary, there are huge gaps in it. It would also have been good to include references to other suspicious deaths in hospitals, such as North Staffs, and Jersey Royal, and Stafford.

6 comments:

Zoompad said...

THE INDEPENDANT

Nurse fights murder conviction

Case to be reviewed after medical experts cast doubt on prosecution evidence

By Matthew Holehouse


Sunday, 28 February 2010
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Benjamin Geen is serving 30 years for murdering two patients and harming 15

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A nurse jailed for 30 years for murdering two patients and seriously harming 15 others was convicted of crimes that never took place, new evidence suggests. Benjamin Geen, 29, was found guilty in 2006 of injecting patients with drugs that stopped their breathing in order to satisfy a "lust for excitement" when reviving them. Two men, David Onley, 75, and Anthony Bateman, 66, died.


Lawyers will tomorrow begin fresh efforts to have the conviction overturned. They say Geen, a former Territorial Army lieutenant from Banbury, Oxfordshire, is the victim of a "witch-hunt" in a health service desperate to prevent anything that might echo the case of Harold Shipman, the GP thought to have killed at least 200 of his patients.

Geen was given 17 life sentences after Oxford Crown Court heard that accident & emergency staff at Horton General Hospital suspected he was involved in a spate of respiratory arrests. The prosecution claimed the pattern of 18 cases identified from patient records was so unusual it had to be the work of "a maniac on the loose", and only Geen was on duty in every case. Painkillers and sedatives were said to be the most likely cause.

However, new evidence to be submitted to the Criminal Cases Review Commission this week calls into question the safety of Geen's conviction. A new report by Professor Jane Hutton, a leading medical statistician, found the prosecution had no grounds to say the "pattern" of illness at the hospital was rare or evidence of a murderer on the loose. "The evidence given... was of no value in supporting a conclusion that there was an unusual pattern, nor a conclusion that any unusual pattern was not a chance event," she concluded.

Michael Powers QC, Geen's barrister said: "There has been a major miscarriage of justice. There's a climate that adverse events have got to be explained. We're very anxious to avoid disasters. But there will be times when people are wrongly convicted," he added. Geen's appeal was rejected last November, but lawyers will this week submit a new case to the commission: it can send it back to the Appeal Court if it believes it to be unsafe.

The prosecution case rested in part on Geen's alleged use of muscle-relaxant drugs to stop patients breathing. But Dr Mark Heath, professor of clinical anaesthesiology at New York's Columbia University, found the victims' symptoms inconsistent with the effects of such drugs. "In none of the charts I reviewed does it appear to me the administration of a muscle relaxant is a likely cause," he said.

Central to Geen's case to overturn his conviction is a judgment in December by judges who upheld the conviction of a Newcastle nurse found guilty of murdering four patients with insulin injections, but who ruled that an unusual pattern of illnesses was, on its own, evidentially worthless.

Zoompad said...

On 3 March 2008 Tom Chivers of the Daily Telegraph reported “Colin Norris, 'Angel of Death' nurse, convicted”

A male nurse has been convicted of killing four elderly women patients by injecting them with insulin. A jury at Newcastle Crown Court found Colin Norris, 31, guilty of the murder of Ethel Hall, from Calverley, Leeds; Doris Ludlam, 80, from Pudsey, West Yorkshire; Bridget Bourke, 88, from Holbeck, Leeds; and Irene Crookes, 79, from Leeds. He was also convicted of the attempted murder of Vera Wilby, 90, from Rawdon in Leeds, who suffered an unexpected hypoglycaemic attack but eventually recovered.

Norris looked on impassively as the foreman of the jury read out the verdict, an 11-1 majority decision that came on the fourth day of deliberations, and kept his head down as he was led from the dock. He will be sentenced tomorrow morning. Mr Justice Griffith Williams told the court: "I have to consider the minimum term which the defendant will have to serve." The judge also offered praise to the jury, consisting of eight men and four women, for their hard work and concentration during the nineteen weeks of the trial. "I am very grateful for the great care and attention you paid to this case," he said. "It has been a very long case and I am conscious of the fact it has caused a lot of inconvenience to some of you."

He also asked the prosecution if there were to be any statements to the court from the victim's families. Robert Smith QC, prosecuting, said that there were few surviving relatives due to the victims' advanced ages. Over the course of the five-month trial the court heard that Norris had killed the "confused" and "difficult" patients during his time working at two Leeds hospitals in 2002. Suspicions were raised when Norris predicted Mrs Halls' death to the minute, saying she would die at 5:15am because "it is always in the morning when thing go wrong". "Whenever I did nights someone always died", he said.

Zoompad said...

Mrs Hall slipped into a hypoglycaemic coma that night and never recovered. Norris told colleagues "I told you so" when her slumped body was found. She died in hospital a week later. Police then looked in to three other deaths that had occurred while he was working at Leeds General Infirmary and St James' Hospital. They found that three other women, none of them diabetics, had died from insulin overdoses during his stints at the hospitals. During questioning, Norris admitted that to officers that "he seemed to have been unlucky over the last 12 months", but denied killing his patients. Described as a "personable, decent young man, close to his granny", the motive for Norris' crimes is unclear, although prosecutors mentioned a "general dislike of the elderly".

Colin Norris latest in line of murderous medics
Nurse Colin Norris's killings will provoke comparisons with those of other medics who have embarked on killing sprees among their patients.

Any summary of the crimes of nurses and doctors who kill their patients inevitably begins and ends with the murders of Harold Shipman. Shipman was convicted at Preston Crown Court in 2000 of the murder of 15 of his patients while he was a general practitioner in Hyde, near Manchester. A major inquiry into Shipman's activities concluded the doctor killed about 250 patients between 1971 and 1998. Of these 218 could be positively identified.

The killings of Beverley Allitt are much better known than those attributed to these other nurses perhaps because she targeted children. Allitt was called the "Angel of Death" after she was given 13 life sentences in 1993 when she was found guilty of the murder of four young children, the attempted murder of a further three children and of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to a further six. Last year, a judge fixed her minimum prison term at 30 years, saying she "snuffed out" the lives of children on her ward at the Grantham and Kesteven General Hospital, in Lincolnshire.

The case of staff nurse, Benjamin Geen, offers the most similarities to that of Norris. In 2006 Geen, who was then 25, was given 17 life sentences after he was found guilty of murdering two of his patients and attacking 15 others. His trial heard how Geen gave them injections of drugs such as muscle relaxants, insulin and sedatives to stop them breathing while working at the Horton Hospital in Banbury, Oxfordshire.

Another nurse accused of killing patients was Anne Grigg-Booth. The 52-year-old was found dead at home in 2005 eight months before she was due to go on trial accused of murdering three elderly women at Airedale General Hospital, near Keighley, and the attempted murder of a middle-aged man. She had worked at the hospital for 25 years. Grigg-Booth was also facing 13 counts of unlawfully administering poison to 12 other patients.

Zoompad said...

From Times Online March 3, 2008

The nurse with a deadly disdain for the elderlyAndrew Norfolk Colin Campbell Norris got away with his first three murders between June and October 2002 because the deaths of the three elderly hospital patients in his care were put down to natural causes.

By the time the staff nurse turned his attention to Ethel Hall, a retired shopkeeper who had fractured a hip after a fall in her kitchen, Norris was so sure that he had perfected his deadly art that he felt bold enough to issue advance notice of the killing.

Mrs Hall, 86, was making a good recovery from her routine operation at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) and was looking forward to going home, but when Norris started his November 20 night shift at the LGI, he predicted to a colleague that she would be dead before dawn.

Indeed, he went further. At midnight, he remarked to another nurse that someone always died when he was on nights. It was "always in the morning . . . about 5.15am", when "things go wrong", he said.

At 5am, Mrs Hall duly suffered a sudden deterioration in her health and fell into a coma in which the grandmother remained until her death three weeks later.

Many of the people who worked with Norris have found it hard to reconcile such cold-blooded acts with the man they knew. The dark-haired, dapper young Glaswegian is remembered by colleagues as "a nice friendly lad", a hard worker with a dry sense of humour who "wouldn't hurt a fly".

Norris was only 25 when he took a job as a staff nurse with the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust after graduating from Dundee University with a diploma in nursing. For 15 months, from October 2001 until his suspension in December 2002, he worked shifts on orthopaedic wards at the city's two big hospitals, Leeds General Infirmary and St James's.

But the one area of his work that Norris appeared to dislike was dealing with the elderly. Vulnerable, often confused, sometimes incontinent, such patients seem to have been regarded by the staff nurse as little more than an irksome burden.

He confided in a trainee nurse that he did not like old people, and some elderly patients recalled at his trial that he had been rude and dismissive to them.

To graduate from dislike to murder is a huge step, which may partly explain why it was not until Norris killed his fourth and final victim that the hospital authorities became suspicious.

Norris was said to have displayed "an air of detached amusement" at the unexplained collapse of an earlier victim, but such lofty disdain would not - for long - be possible on this occasion.

The doctor on duty was so concerned about Mrs Hall's inexplicable descent into a hypoglycaemic coma that he summoned the assistance of Dr Emma Ward, an endocrinologist and diabetes specialist.

Zoompad said...

She immediately ordered a special blood test which was sent to a laboratory in Guildford, Surrey, and revealed that the patient, who was not diabetic, had been injected with a massive and fatal dose of insulin.

The injection - of a dose 20 times greater than is normally given to a person with diabetes - had reduced the sugar content in Mrs Hall's blood to a level where her brain became starved of the glucose it needed to function properly. She had suffered irreversible brain damage.

After establishing that the insulin could not have been administered by accident, the hospital contacted the police and a criminal investigation was launched.

Norris soon emerged as a potential suspect and as the inquiry continued concerns were raised about other patients who had died in past months on the two wards where he had worked.

A decision was eventually taken review all the 72 deaths that had taken place on the relevant wards over a two-year period, starting nine months before Norris joined the trust.

Of these, 18 deaths were classified as high priority and selected for independent review by three external medical experts: a geriatrician physician, a clinical pharmacologist and forensic toxicologist.

Each of the three concluded, separately, that there were four deaths - and one patient's illness - that were not "clinically explainable".

In addition to Mrs Hall, these were the cases of Vera Wilby, 90, who had survived an unexplained hypoglycaemic attack in May 2002, and three women, Doris Ludlam, 80, Bridget Bourke, 88, and Irene Crookes, 79, who had died between June and October of that year.

All five were frail, elderly women with chronic medical conditions who had been admitted to an orthopaedic ward at one of the two Leeds hospitals after suffering a hip fracture.

Each, in the words of Robert Smith, QC, who prosecuted the case, might have been regarded "as a burden to nursing staff".

None had diabetes, yet all five had suffered the sudden onset of hypoglycaemia and in every case the deterioration happened at night, when Norris was on duty in their ward or had just finished a shift.

The staff nurse, who had already been suspended, was arrested on the day of Mrs Hall's death. He protested his innocence from the start and maintained an air of injured innocence throughout his four-month trial.

The jury may also have sensed that this was a young man who was rather pleased with himself, who believed that he knew better than the Crown's expert witnesses and who approached the ordeal of a murder trial with a nonchalence bordering on arrogance.

His motive for murder remains, to a large extent, a mystery but Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Gregg, who led the three-year police inquiry, believes that Norris relished the feeling of power and control that he gained from the killings.

The syringe in his hand made him the arbiter of life and death. And he thought, because he had got away with it so many times, that his deeds were undetectable, that he could "carry on killing with impunity".

Mr Gregg is convinced that the murders would not have stopped with Ethel Hall. "The prompt actions of Dr Ward stopped a serial killer in his tracks," he said. "Norris was growing in confidence. He believed he was perfecting his craft and if he had not been caught he would have carried on. More elderly patients would have been poisoned and more would have died. Why? Because he enjoyed it."

Anon said...

Interesting!

- Aangirfan