"One man, too many murders"

Discussion in 'BOARDANIA' started by Hsing, Feb 8, 2006.

  1. Hsing Moderator

    From the Boardanian mailing list, Feb 7th.

    [b:65b1ff6036]Roman K. wrote:[/b:65b1ff6036]
    [quote:65b1ff6036]Stephan Leter (sp?), age 27, of Germany, worked as a nurse in a hospital.

    He is charged for 16 counts of murder, and it's supposed that the real victim count stands between forty and fifty. One of them was apparently a 'mercy killing'. In the others, he didn't bother asking them. Most of the victims were over 75, and most were fatally ill. Most. Ages ranged from 40 to 94.

    Mercy... Mercy can be quite horrible.[/quote:65b1ff6036]

    [b:65b1ff6036]Hsing wrote:[/b:65b1ff6036]
    [quote:65b1ff6036]His name is Stephan Letter. So far, 80 suspicious deaths are re-investigated (which does not mean that that's the potential number of victims; almost everyone who had a relative dying in the hospital, with that man anywhere close, now wants, understandably, informations.)

    What can I say? It simply goes over my horizon. [/quote:65b1ff6036]

    [b:65b1ff6036]Roman K. wrote:[/b:65b1ff6036]
    [quote:65b1ff6036]I understand that most of the bodies were cremated, thus erasing any chance of testing the bodies for traces of the medicines he used to murder his victims. A lot of people are going to be left wondering in this one.

    Mercy... That word makes me want to puke at the moment. Who gave the right to decide? Who made *him* God and let him decide who lives and who dies?

    He's young. Let him rot for sixty years. Let him fucking rot.[/quote:65b1ff6036]

    [b:65b1ff6036]Hsing wrote:[/b:65b1ff6036]
    [quote:65b1ff6036]That's probably what's going to happen.
    I know what you mean with "...mercy?!?". But it's probably the quintessential sickness of most murders as such - that a person believes he was somehow given the right to end a life, for whatever reason from mercy" to "she deserved it for cheating" to "I made a political statement" to "he was just a tramp and I kicked his head in" to "it was fun" to "he would have told everyone what I did to him"........ and so on and so on.

    What makes me wonder is: If you work at a hospital, don't you ever notice that when a certain colleague is on duty, there is someone dying in very second shift of his?
    Does it go so unnoticed?
    A naive question, maybe.[/quote:65b1ff6036]

    [b:65b1ff6036]Roman K. wrote:[/b:65b1ff6036]
    [quote:65b1ff6036]The sad truth is that most of them were expected to die in that hospital. Nobody noticed, and nobody saw a reason to notice, probably until relatively healthy folks started dying.

    The debate is yours to continue! ;)
  2. Rincewind Number One Doorman

    While I don't know the story, He sounds like a Dr Shipman to me... I wonder if he really *did* believe that he was helping people...where they terminally ill or anything?

    Edit:...I really should read the thread properly before posting.

  3. spiky Bar Wench

    God syndrome anyone...

    Didn't Dr Shipman get himself written into wills before offing them?
  4. Rincewind Number One Doorman

    Yeah, he was in it fr the money.

    I wonder if this person *really* did think he was easing they're suffering? I can't see what was in it for him otherwise?

    A power trip? You 'killed' someone who was going to die anyway and was probably really is to kill, where is the sense of statisfation in that.
  5. spiky Bar Wench

    The power of life and death, he had the power to keep them alive but thought he was doing them a favour by providing them with the death he had the power to give.
  6. Delphine New Member

    Yeah, I suppose it's akin to a power trip. Power is addictive. He may have thought he was 'helping' these people, until he became so delusioned that he started thinking he just [i:40cee19423]knew...[/i:40cee19423]

    It's impossible to understand the way some people's minds work. Was there not a case recently of a nurse who let patients die to free up hospital beds?
  7. Saccharissa Stitcher

    As I have already said, my great aunt died. She was 93, had lived a full life, so it's not a tragedy, more like the closing of a book, the end to the story.

    She did not have a good quality of life though, for the past decade. Her sight was nearly gone, she had had both hips operated on and osteoporosis had destroyed her back. She could get out of the house only if she was carried out and she was completely dependant on pain killers. And for the past couple of years her memory was going downhill, fast, and she knew it. Whenever she was in the present, she was asking us to pray for her death.

    Even so, she was one of the lucky ones. She died in her own bed, rather than in a hospital, she was with family rather than strangers and was not bothered by doctors, nurses, med and nursing students. This may not seem much to someone who hasn't worked in a hospital but trust me on this one, it is a very big deal.

    The advances in medicine may have saved many people, but in other cases they make Agatean Empire interrogators out of the health staff; people can be kept alive for weeks, not in a good way.

    There was this man with multiple myeloma, when I was a student, who was forced to stay for more than two months in the Internal Medicine ward. On top of needing bone marrow sampling, he also needed to have daily blood tests, as he had an artificial heart valve and was on anticoagulation therapy. So, we were jabbing him with needles every day, aspirating blood, injecting anticoagulation medicaments, aspirating blood again in case his fever was caused by microbes rather than his condition...He got bruised all over and was in a lot of pain and that's just from the efforts of making him better.
    He eventually got discharged, returned home and he got pneumonia and died within a forthnight.

    Or the victims of strokes. Bedridden, broken shells of the people they used to be, most of them without proper nursing care at home, their bodies were rotting away from bed sores and pneumonias.

    Or another woman, with multiple myeloma, whose screams for morphine could be heard in our classroom at the end of the hallway.

    And these are only a handful of the examples I could give. Internal Medicine wards had hardened my resolution to become a surgeon because [i:5c3bbbf6e3]you can do something[/i:5c3bbbf6e3], not forced to sit back and keep your fingers crossed, that the antibiotics will work in a body without any hope of recovery.

    Not everyone is cut out for this job. I know I am not, that's why I'm steering clear. Maybe this Stephan Letter wasn't either. If he didn't have anything to gain from the deaths, then I can believe that forcing the continuation of a painful existance on people way beyond hope broke his spirit.
  8. mowgli New Member

    ::hugs Avgi::
  9. Guest Guest

    After spending 6 months in a hospital bed, my stepdad was transferred into a nursing home to end his days, he had lung cancer with no hope of surviving. At the end he wasn't the man i knew and loved.
    He gave up his battle 5 days after being transferred.
    They wouldn't let him home to die and was giving him radiotherapy right up until the poor man couldn't even talk. He caught MRSA in the final 2 weeks which if they had let him come home would never have happened. I was with him for the last week, sleeping in the nursing home room with Mom and my husband and it sounds awful to say but there were times when i could have done it myself. I even dreamt of putting a pillow over his face and helping him. He was in agony and i loved him so much.

    That was almost 12 months ago now.

    I guess what i'm trying to say is that sometimes people do need helping out. If it was a dog or a cat in that sort of situation you would be kind and have the vet put it down. So why not do it for loved ones.

    I am sorry if this post has offended anyone, but those are my views after my experience.
  10. Hsing Moderator

    The judges are now arguing that, seeing he knew some of these people for only an hour, thereof seeing them a few minutes, it can't have been sympathy.

    Some of the victim were, by the way, on their way to recovery, some even shortly before leaving home, one had booked plane tickets for a holiday trip with his family.

    There were two surviors, too.
    In one point, his girlfreind was lying in "his" hosptal, and a woman in her room, who had cancer, got on her nerves. Stephen Letter gave her a medical cocktail that caused respiratory paralysis. She was saved, but went into intensive care.

    The other case was a soldier, who had had an accident. The woman was semi-conscious when being brought in, and Letter gave her a medicament that she was allergic to - her files stated that. Her report was one of the many small incidents resulted in the investigation.

    That's it with mercy as motive, I'd say.

    But I fully understand your point of view, misswhiplash. It just seems it doesn't apply to this case - it wasn't what we, in German, call "Sterbehilfe", "help in dying". It was just totally random murder.
    Seeing someone close dying like that must have been painful, and I understand the anger against the machinery that seems not to want to let got of people whose time has long come, as if it was about making a point, and not about a human being.

    Helping people to end their pain and have a dignified end is still controversial for many people, but a totally different matter.

    I've seen two different ways of how hospitals can deal with people dying of a very painful disease in a country where "Sterbehilfe" (don't know the english word) is illegal.

    A few years ago, I had my appendix taken out. I shared the room with two other women, one of them on her way to recovery, the other one frail looking, almost tiny, and visibly scared. I learnt that a few months before, a part of her stomach had been taken out due to cancer, and that they found a new tumor in it during a check up the day before. She spent most of her time on a respirator, too. I was freshly operated and didn't get anything the first day. On the second day, though, it became clear that they wanted to take out her entire stomach.

    I think I posted about the incident on the old boards too... I witnessed a dialogue between her and her doctor. The cancer had spread throughout her system, most of it was in the stomach and lungs, and it was about the third time this happened to her. When the doctor had some time to talk to her, it was obvious that she knew what was coming and wanted a clear answer; she was thinking of going into a hospice to die there if her suspicion was right. The doctor though acted cheerfully, suggested that you could live even with your stomach removed, and made jokes about how they were sending her home for Christmas.

    I mean, even I could see that woman was expecting to die soon, and he simply refused to talk about this with her.
    She got worse over night, and it became apparent that she wasn't going to make it to the operation, no matter what her decision was. She did, of course, not get a room of her own, because, as I found out after asking a nurse about it, the health insurance only grants you that for the last 45 minutes of your life, and they had no spare room left. Putting four beds in two three room beds wasn't possible..

    Wow. Do they fine your relatives if you make it for 50 after getting your room?

    See, she was dying, and within the next hours, her relatives arrived, her children and grandchildren, to say goodbye. Some hurried over from France. People were sitting and standing around her bed and cried, or prayed, and took their last chance to say some very personal things, apologized for mistakes and remembered good times and all.

    That's how it should be, but all the time I felt like an intruder, and I thought: Shouldn't they have the right to do this in private? At one point I got up and sat in the reading room. When it got too painful, I went back, but right when I came in, the woman was crying in her daughter's arms about some occasion when she let her down... So I sat back in the readong room and cried, because the scene had been so unspeakably sad, and they had stood around her just like my family did when my grandmother died, and because I was in pain, and dizzy from the op the night before, and tired. It was one of the most shameful moments of my life when the eldest son of the women came in, saw me crying and comforted [i:915007bfdb]me[/i:915007bfdb] with an embrace.

    I sent myself home that night on my own risk, and so did the other woman from our room. But I was still upset for a long time about how the woman had been treated. And I suppose that wasn't even the worst way to die in a German hospital.
    When my boyfriend picked up some stuff from me the next morning, she was gone.

    One of my grandmothers died of cancer. She got a room of her own pretty early, and, in dialouge with her as well as with her family, whom was sitting at her bed in shifts, there was no heavy therapy being tried on her anymore from a certain point on. She was 70, had had breast cancer, amputations, and then fast spreading lung cancer (a non smoker all of her life...).
    (One might have considered her terminally ill back when her breasts were being amputated the year before, and she was; it wasn't so much a relapse but a continuation. But she got another year, and travelled to Spain the summer before she died, a lifelong dream of a woman that never had the time and money to see something of the world.)

    It was a very small hospital on the countryside.
    She got painkillers. From a certain point on, she was asleep most of the time, and started confusing her daughters as well as her grandchildren.

    But whenever she woke up, she saw the face of one or two relatives, day and night - and some of them had to come down from the other end of the country. She passed away after weeks of this "watch", slowly, but painless, and in that time, each member of the family somehow got to terms with the inevitable. The night she died, we lay in each others arms on the corridor and cried, and her husband got an extra hour to sit at her deathbed and say his goodbyes.

    You see, sometimes it needs only a little bit more space and time than law enforces the hospitals to give, and actually talking to patients and relatives and take them seriously and accept their choices.
    Maybe some don't have that resources, but still, it may not even need new laws, or a medical revolution to make it all so more humane.
  11. Human New Member

    *Sniff* That was beautiful, Hsing.
  12. Saccharissa Stitcher

    This was no mercy killer. I will be in Munich next week so if you need someone to kick his elbows through his ears, I'm available.

    There is such a thing as a morphin pump that can be used by the patient to regulate one's pain. They are for hospital use, as far as I know, but I think they should be made available for terminal patients, so that they will be able to end their days in their own homes.

    Hsing, Miss Whiplash, your stories are encapsulating all that is wrong with the current system. And considering there are people who have the nerve to say that those in favour of euthanasia are part of a "culture of life"...

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