A nurse serving a life sentence for two murders is facing trial for allegedly killing a further 100 patients at two hospitals in Germany.
- German media reports Hoegel may have killed more than 300 people
- He told a previous trial he enjoyed the feeling of being able to resuscitate patients
- Police chief says health authorities should of acted quicker on suspicions
Niels Hoegel, 41, is due to stand trial in the north-western city of Oldenburg on Tuesday (local time).
The murder charges against him stem from his time at a hospital in Oldenburg between 1999 and 2002 and at another hospital in nearby Delmenhorst from 2003 to 2005.
While Hoegel is on trial for the death of 100 patients, weekly German news magazine Der Spiegel reported special investigators had identified 322 potential victims.
The magazine also reported the prosecution exhumed 134 bodies to examine for traces of drugs Hoegel may have used, however more than 100 of the former patients were cremated.
The Oldenburg State Court is conducting Hoegel’s trial at a courtroom set up in a conference centre, a venue chosen to accommodate a large number of co-plaintiffs and public interest in the proceedings.
Health authorities slow to act
Hoegel was convicted in 2015 of two murders and two attempted murders at a hospital in the town of Delmenhorst.
During that trial, he said he intentionally brought about cardiac crises in roughly 90 patients in Delmenhorst because he enjoyed the feeling of being able to resuscitate them.
He later told investigators he also killed patients in Oldenburg.
Oldenburg police chief Johann Kuehme last year said other medical workers at Oldenburg were aware of an elevated number of resuscitations, and initial indications of possible wrongdoing by the nurse in Delmenhorst emerged as early as April 2003.
Mr Kuehme said many of the deaths could have been prevented if health authorities had acted more quickly on their suspicions.
An additional conviction could affect Hoegel’s possibility of parole, but there are no consecutive sentences in Germany.
In general, people serving life sentences are considered for parole after 15 years.
Authorities are pursuing criminal cases against former staff at the two medical facilities.