A nurse in the Netherlands has admitted to colleagues that he has killed at least 20 coronavirus patients, the prosecution said on Thursday.
Theodoor V, 30, is said to have worried about the suffering of his victims while working as a pulmonary nurse at the Wilhelmina Hospital in Assen.
V was arrested at his home in Veenhuizen three weeks ago after confessing to staff while being treated at a mental health clinic in nearby Drenthe.
Prosecutors said he had indicated “several times” in his conversations with mental health staff that “as a pulmonary nurse in the WZA, he had prematurely ended the lives of 20 patients during the coronavirus pandemic.”
‘The suspect allegedly performed medical procedures on patients he believed to be terminal and suffering, without instructions from a doctor.
‘His statements were taken so seriously by the healthcare organization that, after extensive consultation with colleagues and obtaining both internal and external legal advice, they decided to break the confidentiality obligation and to file a report with the WZA.’
An investigation will look at the times V worked at the hospital between March 2020 and May 2022
The suspect has now been ordered by a court in Assen to be held in pre-trial detention for at least 30 days.
Authorities will continue to investigate patient deaths between March 2020 and May 2022, with the criminal investigation expected to conclude in June.
A spokesperson said: ‘Experts are currently looking into whether there are discrepancies in the medical files that could be consistent with the statements of the suspect.’
V had only been able to keep in touch with his lawyers until today.
Families of victims were informed about the investigation two weeks ago, lawyer Sébas Diekstra told ANP.
Diekstra: ‘They currently have so many questions and the uncertainty about how their loved one died, torments them enormously.
‘Naturally, the next of kin also want proper research to be done, but at the same time hope that the desired clarity will come soon.’
A relative of one of the victims said to Dutch media that V was related to 24 deceased patients.
The Wilhelmina Hospital has one rack online, dated April 20.
It said that the arrest of an employee on April 17 had ‘shocked us’.
“The nurse has been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the death of patients in the WZA (hospital) during the corona pandemic.”
Hans Mulder, board member of the WZA, confirms that the employee no longer works for the hospital.
Mulder adds: ‘We immediately took the report seriously and took the necessary steps.
‘A first important step was to deactivate the employee concerned by the report. For example, the behavior from the report could not be continued.’
After an internal investigation, the hospital presented the matter to the authorities, who were able to launch a criminal investigation.
WZA said it would not share much information at this stage to avoid interfering with the investigation.
Mulder: ‘We do have an eye for the well-being of our employees and any patients or surviving relatives involved.
‘In the coming period, we will mainly focus, together with the police, on collecting facts.’
File photo of a woman in a safety mask used during the coronavirus pandemic. Relatives were informed two weeks ago of the investigation into V
In conversation with local newspaper Leeuwarder Couranta spokesperson for the hospital’s employees said the initial reaction shocked colleagues.
Sylvia Sanders said: ‘The news hit like a bomb. You still see a lot of emotions in employees.
‘At the same time you also feel the drive to go further and to steer the care, which must always continue.’
Residents can share information relevant to the case with the Northern Netherlands police via 0900-8844.