Let beautiful nurses resuscitate patients faster

Study on the killing of patients: Do doctors and nurses regularly die?

A high-profile pilot study of patient kills sparked controversial discussions in the healthcare industry. The patient commissioner of the federal government, Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU), described the results - should they turn out to be correct - as a "scandal" and demanded clarification as soon as possible.

According to an extrapolation from the study, up to 21,000 patients per year in German hospitals and nursing homes are said to die at the hands of nurses or doctors. Scientists from the University of Witten / Herdecke for the first time empirically investigated the phenomenon that was recently brought into the public eye by the nurse Niels Högel in Delmenhorst, Lower Saxony. Högel had committed up to 43 murders in what is probably the largest series of murders in German criminal history. 200 more cases are currently being investigated.

The estimate sounds shockingly high. Around 19 million people are treated in German hospitals every year. Around 430,000 people die in hospitals each year, plus around 175,000 people who, according to studies, die in care facilities. Thus, around three percent of deaths in inpatient facilities can be traced back to unauthorized and illegal actions by a nurse or doctor. The health insurance company AOK made a similarly high estimate in 2014 with regard to treatment errors: According to this, 14,000 people in German clinics are said to die each year as a result of such errors.

The image of the lone perpetrator wavers

The study by the scientists around the well-known psychiatrist and psychotherapist Karl H. legs is now shaking the image of the lone perpetrator in the Högel case. Accordingly, homicides against patients are common. For the pilot study, the researchers asked around 5,000 doctors, nurses and geriatric nurses whether they had actively carried out life-ending measures on patients in the past twelve months or whether they had observed them in their professional environment. A good three percent of doctors in hospitals answered that they had already done this themselves, as did five percent of geriatric nurses and 1.5 percent of nurses. The results were similar in the nursing homes.