17 Serial Killer Nurses Who Murdered Their Patients

Medical professionals are supposed to help people, but there have been several serial killer nurses who ended the lives of their patients, instead. Some of these nurses haven't become as infamous as serial killer doctors like H. H. Holmes. However, this doesn't mean their crimes against humanity were any less heinous. In fact, the methods that some of these nurses used to terminate those in their care may be disturbing enough to make you think twice about going in for that checkup.

Perhaps these individuals were able to get away with their crimes for so long because society views nurses as the ultimate caregivers. This makes it very difficult to consider that someone who has lost a lot of patients could actually be responsible. The reality, though, is that hospital workers have creepy stories about things they've seen, heard, and done. Medical nurses who were serial killers may not be one of the most common hospital oddities, but there have definitely been more of them than most people would ever guess.

  • Niels Hoegel May Have Killed More Than 90 Patients

    In February 2015, German nurse Niels Hoegel was jailed for two murders and several attempted murders at Delmenhorst Hospital. He would inject his patients with a cardiovascular drug to create a medical emergency, then step in to resuscitate them at the last moment. Hoegel was active between 1999 and 2005.

    A new indictment was filed against Hoegel in January 2018, charging him with killing an additional 97 patients over the years. His exact number of victims has been difficult to determine due to a lack of concrete evidence connecting him to suspicious deaths in the hospitals where he was employed. 

    On June 6, 2019, Hoegel was convicted of 85 intentional deaths and sentenced to life in prison. He is known to have worked at a hospital in Oldenburg between 1999 and 2002 before moving onto Delmenhorst where he operated until 2005. 

    During his trial Hoegel apologized to the relatives of his victims, expressing remorse and admitting to the shame he feels for the suffering he has caused. 

  • Amelia Dyer Killed An Estimated 400 Infants
    Photo: Unknown police photographer / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Amelia Dyer is one of the most notorious serial killers in history. Although she was only convicted of 12 deaths, evidence suggests her true body count was at least 400. Her crimes took place over a 20-year time span in the late 1800s, and all of her victims were babies.

    Dyer was a trained nurse who turned to baby farming to make money. She would offer to adopt or nurse a child in return for a fee but would typically terminate the babies within days by drugging them with opium-based substances or smothering them. She actually served six months in prison for negligence in 1879. 

    But Dyer wasn't arrested for her crimes until 1896. Her reign of terror finally ended permanently on June 10, 1896, when she was executed by hanging for the murder of 12 infants.

  • Arnfinn Nesset Killed Up To 138 Patients In Norway
    Photo: Unknown / via Alchetron / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Arnfinn Nesset's case is unusual: he was caught, convicted, served time in jail, and eventually released. The former Norwegian nurse completed his prison term and subsequent supervision period in 2005. Nesset is now living under a new, unreported name, which makes it impossible for the families of his victims to know his current location. 

    After he was caught in 1982, Nessen admitted to killing 27 patients at a nursing home with a lethal injection of the muscle relaxant drug suxamethonium chloride. However, he later recanted his confession, which extended his murder trial to five months. He was ultimately found guilty of killing 22 people, but it's believed his true body count is closer to 140.

  • Edson Izidoro Guimarães was convicted of four murders in 2000. However, the nurse admitted to killing five patients, and some estimates place his probable list of victims at more than 130. All of these deaths happened between January and May of 1999.

    A co-worker stopped the slayings by reporting it when he witnessed Guimarães injecting a patient with potassium chloride. After he was arrested for his crimes, Guimarães stated that he had no regrets because he had helped people who were in irreversible comas.

    It's unknown if that was the true motive, but investigators suspected that he was killing people to earn $60 each by reporting their deaths to nearby funeral homes. Known locally by the nickname "the Nurse of Death," he received a prison term of 76 years.