A 30-year-old nurse in Denmark was charged with a fourth count of murder following a series of suspicious patient deaths on her ward. The woman has been in custody for almost six months now, and the Nykobing Falster district court in southern Denmark extended her detention for another four weeks as police continue to investigate the case.
The woman was detained on March 1, 2015, following three deaths during her night shift on February 28, 2015, at the Nykobing Falster provincial hospital. Prosecutors charged her with a fourth murder that allegedly took place in 2012. The nurse, whose name has not been disclosed, has denied all charges and immediately appealed her continued detention.
Media reports revealed that unusually large amounts of stesolid and morphine were alleged to have been found in the bodies of some of the deceased. The Danish Broadcasting Corporation quoted defense attorney Jorgen Lange as telling the court that there had not been an unusually high level of use of the two drugs on the ward in question. The accused nurse said, "Being accused of something you haven't done is horrible. There are a lot of rumors about all sorts of things and my life has been destroyed. My family is suffering a lot, not least my 7-year-old daughter."
Police are investigating a further 10 deaths and want the nurse to be held in custody to prevent her from contacting witnesses. Prosecutor Jeanette Andersen meanwhile argued to the court that an unusual number of deaths happened during the accused nurse's duty. She said, "The nurse was employed at the hospital in 2009 when there were 87 deaths at the ward. In 2011 there were 95 deaths and in 2012, when the nurse stopped working in October of that year, there were 75 deaths. In the following two years when the nurse was not at the ward, 51 people died."