Ethical Behavior

The Unethical Universe around Niels Hoegel

Niels Hoegel is a nurse, and he has just admitted to killing 100 patients. He plied his wicked trade between 2000 and 2005 at two different hospitals in Germany. His patients were all ages, from 34 to 96 and male and well as female. Why did he do this? He claims two reasons: he was bored and he was showing off to his colleagues. I would also add that in my opinion, he was trying to play God (and no, I have no idea if he is religious or not). The immoral and the unethical universe around Niels Hoegel is shocking!

His game was a dastardly simple one: he gave his victims a cocktail of drugs, purposely intending to put them into cardiac arrest and then he showed off by trying to resuscitate them. He admitted to these crimes as he was already serving a life sentence for murder and attempted murder. In past testimonies, this murderer claims he was happy when he brought a patient back to life, and he was depressed when he failed on his mission. No one knows how many people he has really killed. Many are long buried.

He didn’t kill these people out of mercy, we can’t even make that argument. He didn’t kill people of a certain religion or race; we can’t go down that road either. They weren’t even terminally ill, they were simply his personal experiments to fight off boredom. No one has mentioned words like “psychotic” in regard to this man. He knows what he did and why he did it. He didn’t hear voices or blackout or go into violent rages. He was apparently burned out and bored and wanted to impress people.

Who stood by and watched?

How this “nurse” will be judged as a person is a given. He has a soul that cannot be redeemed. He is deserving of no second chances, something that I rarely say. However, as distasteful as it is to analyze this as a scandal (which it is), we must view it in terms of some basic principles of unethical behavior.

True, Niels Hoegel acted alone but who around him may have suspected something and said nothing? Who around him neglected to see patterns of “strange saves” or unexplained saves of seemingly healthy people?

Let’s examine this a bit further.

True whether we want to believe it or not, Niels Hoegel saw an opportunity to play hero by experimenting on patients. On the quiet of the wards in two different hospitals, Hoegel injected his patients with drugs that caused them to go into cardiac arrest and then he attempted to resuscitate them. It might have potentially gone completely unnoticed had he conducted his experiment on one or two patients, perhaps quite elderly, but more than 100?

Were his supervisors and co-workers so oblivious to his opportunity that they accepted the patients under his care simply went into cardiac arrest?

From his own words, Niels Hoegel had a need to play God and to play with the lives of patients in order to impress his co-workers. Were they impressed? Were they ever wondering how Hoegel never failed to brag on himself when he brought back a patient? Did they ever talk about Hoegel’s need to brag? Or were they (I hate to say this) almost as bored as he was? Did no one care? How many pats on the back does one man need, and why did he need to hear all of that praise to fuel his ego?

Finally, over the years leading up to his arrest (he was caught injecting a patient in 2005, leading to his arrest) how did this man rationalize his behavior? From 2000 to 2005, and by his own admission, he killed more than 100 patients. Were they simply “bodies” to him?

What does this scandal teach everyone about stress among hospital workers, about psychological testing and finally, about ethical training? Granted, ethical training might not have done a thing for Niels Hoegel, but what about his colleagues? Could ethical training have created “a conversation” rather early on about a man who seemed to enjoy bragging about saving patients?

We cannot bring back the lives that this jackal destroyed, but we can certainly ask the question of why no one seemed ethically motivated to question what was going on. The unethical universe around Niels Hoegel should have been stopped long before 100 patients died under his care!

Leave a Reply