Angels of Death: Nurses Who Kill

Angels of Death: Nurses Who Kill

Staff Writer and Medical historian Sherry Michaels Perry

When you are sick in the hospital, there is one person who is there to take care of you and make sure that you get the best care possible. Often the doctor receives most of the glory; many people do not know that it is the nurse who advocates for you and makes sure the doctor acts when you need him most. The nurses are often what stands between a patient and death.

When a nurse graduates from nursing school they take a pledge. It is no big deal to some, but to those who entered nursing with a sincere desire to help people, it means a lot. It is called the Nightingale Pledge, and it goes like this:

I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully.
I shall abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous and shall not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug.
I shall do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling.
I shall be loyal to my work and devoted towards the welfare of those committed to my care.

I honestly believe that most nurses want to take good care of their patients and enjoy helping people. But some evil people have become nurses, and here are a few for you to learn about.

Amelia Dyer

amelia dyer

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia

Amelia Dyer is a nurse who worked with mothers and babies in the latter part of the 1800’s. She operated a baby farming business where she would offer to nurse or help place an infant for adoption for a fee. She would take the money and kill the baby. She got in trouble at work in 1879 for being negligent and spent six months in prison. She went right back to her baby farming business after her release and was arrested again in 1880. She was executed June 10th, 1896 for the deaths of five infants but it was widely believed the actual count was 400.

Daniela Poggiali


Photo Courtesy of the Guardian

Daniela Poggiali was an Italian nurse who was arrested for murdering helpless patients in 2014. She was accused of killing 90 patients because they annoyed her. She also took selfies of herself and deceased patients and shared them with her equally twisted friends.

Jane Toppan


Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia

Jane Toppan was a nurse in 1901 with lofty goals. She wanted to be the nurse who killed more patients than anyone else. She would inject her patients with lethal doses of morphine and then crawl into bed with them to watch them die. When she was caught, she stated that she found it sexually thrilling to bring patients to the brink of death, resuscitate them, then kill them.

Charles Cullen


Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia

Charles Cullen, from New Jersey, was known as the most prolific serial killer in 2003. He killed 40 patients during his employment in seven different hospitals. His modus operandi was lethal injection, and the sad thing is that most of the hospitals suspected what he was doing and did not notify the police or the Board of Nursing so he could have been stopped. He is now serving a 127-year prison term and has bragged the death toll was much higher than 40.

Genene Jones


Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia

Another pediatric nurse who gave lethal doses of medication to 60 infants and children from 1977 to 1982.

Orville Lynn Majors


Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia

Another peach who killed 130 patients that he considered to be whiny and demanding. Why was this dude even a nurse??? They are ALL whiny and demanding! He was sentenced to 360 years in 1999.

Kimberly Saenz


Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia

This lovely lady was a dialysis nurse who routinely injected her patients with bleach during their treatments. She had researched quite extensively on her home PC bleach could be detected in the dialysis tubing. She was convicted of killing five, but many believe the actual toll was 15.

Gwendolyn Graham and Cathy Woods

graham and woods

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia

Known as the “Lethal Lovers” this pair killed five patients together during a two-month period in 1987. They worked together in a nursing home and believed that committing the murders together would keep their love strong. Isn’t love grand?

Thankfully most nurses are kind, caring souls who would do anything to keep you safe. But if in doubt, be very nice…and lay off the call light!


Published by TheOddPast by Matthew A. Perry

Writer, teacher, broadcaster, and podcaster from West Virginia. I write about and discuss the wacky and weird side of history on my website and my podcast "The Odd Past Podcast" available everywhere

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