Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Florence Nightingale became a national heroine and was largely responsible for the birth of the nursing profession in Britain. Since then nurses throughout the world have worked tirelessly to comfort the suffering, so when a murderer appears in the midst of this caring profession it is all the more shocking.
Between February 1986 and April the following year, 23 patients at the Drake Memorial Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio died under mysterious circumstances.Thirty-five yearold nurse Donald Harvey was arrested and charged with murdering one of his patients by injecting a lethal dose of cyanide.

At first, Harvey tried to plead insanity; this was soon dismissed and he later admitted to at least 34 murders. On the 22nd of August, Judge William Mathews sentenced Harvey to 24 life terms without any possibility of parole for the first 60 years.
Ten years later Orville Lynn Majors was charged with killing six elderly patients by lethal injection. However, it is believed she could have been responsible for the deaths of at least 140 more.

Majors had worked at the hospital from May 1993 to March 1995. During this time the death rate in the intensive care unit, where Majors was constantly on duty, shot up so alarmingly that hospital administrators asked the police to investigate. Majors protested her innocence but was fired and her license was revoked.

On the 7th of September 1999 Majors pleaded not guilty. The trial lasted seven weeks. Majors was found guilty and sentenced to a total of 360 years.

In spring 1991 at the Grantham General Hospital in England, 26 babies and young children collapsed with what appeared to be totally unexpected heart attacks. Despite the best efforts of the medical staff, four of them died.

Suspicion fell on 23-year-old Beverly Allit, the only nurse to have been on duty in the children's ward every time a child's life was threatened. She was arrested and charged with murder. It was discovered that Allit suffered from the rare disease 'Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy' - which meant she harmed others to bring attention to herself.

On the 25th of May Allit was given a total of 13 life terms. At the time she was thought to be England's most prolific 20th century female mass murderer.


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