Dutch Nurse Charged with Murder of 14 Patients

She Gave Lethal Doses of Drugs, Say Prosecutors

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AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, MAY 9, 2002 (Zenit.org).- A Dutch nurse has been charged with the murder of 14 babies, young children and elderly patients in four hospitals in The Hague over a four-year period.

The 40-year-old woman is accused of killing five babies and children, and nine elderly people in her care, by giving them a lethal dose of drugs while working in hospitals between February 1997 and September 2001, Reuters reported.

The nurse, who was also charged with four attempted murders, is due to go on trial next month. Her victims included babies less than a year old and patients as old as 91, public prosecutors said Wednesday.

The woman, whose identity was not revealed, is also accused of forging school certificates to qualify for her medical training. At least one of her alleged victims died while in a prison infirmary.

A statement by Hague prosecutors gave no indication of what illnesses the nurse´s alleged victims were suffering from.

The Netherlands was the first country to legalize euthanasia, but the law that took effect in April this year included, in theory, strict conditions to prevent abuses. In practice, mercy killing had been tolerated in the country for about two decades.

The new law says euthanasia is allowed only if patients face a future of unbearable, interminable suffering and make a voluntary, well-considered request to die. Doctor and patient must be convinced there is no other solution, and a second doctor must be consulted.

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