While the case is ongoing it’s difficult to comment on the exact death toll of German nurse, Niels Hogel, but the international press has already dubbed him “Germany’s Deadliest Serial Killer.” An “angel of death,” to be exact…
Niels Hogel was born on December 30th, 1976 in Wilhelmshaven, Germany. It was from the local hospital there that Hogel received vocational training to become a nurse. By 1999 he was employed by a hospital in Oldenburg. He remained inconspicuous until 2001 when hospital officials began to become suspicious of Ward 211 due to the strangely high number of resuscitation attempts and deaths that were occurring there. The administration had a Ward meeting regarding the uncharacteristic numbers, for which Hogel was present. Hogel then called in sick for the following three weeks (admitting later that he thought he’d been found out). During the time that he was away from work, the deaths dropped dramatically.
In fact, over 58% of the deaths that occurred in the hospital happened at times that Hogel was on duty.
In light of this, the chief physician at the Oldenburg Clinic urged Hogel to either resign or move from the intensive care unit to an easier job, like the pickup and delivery service. So, in 2002, Hogel decided to move to the hospital in Delmenhorst instead. From his job at Oldenburg, he received a certificate of employment (like a recommendation) indicating that he was a hard worker, cooperative, conscientious, and independent.
There the deaths began again, with most patients succumbing to heart arrhythmias or a sudden drop in blood pressure. Finally, in June of 2005, Niels was caught in the act. He was purposely manipulating a patient’s syringe pump and administering Gilurytmal (a cardiac medicine) without cause. This led directly to a series of investigations.
As the police looked into the matter, they determined that the death rate at the Delmenhorst hospital had doubled since Hogel was employed there. In 2006, Hogel was tried in district court and sentenced for attempted manslaughter (the 2005 case where he was caught red-handed). It garnered 7.5 years prison time and a life-long professional ban from nursing. But this was just the tip of the iceberg.
In 2015, Hogel was sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in two deaths, and two more attempts. Of course, the exhumations have just begun. In all, Hogel is suspected of over 100 murders, and possibly many more. In speaking with officials, he himself admitted to over 30. Should he be found culpable for the numbers attributed to him, he would rank as the deadliest German serial killer of all time.
Unfortunately, we may never know the extent of Hogel’s crimes since some of his former patient’s bodies were too decayed to find trace amounts of drugs; and, over one hundred patients who died at Delmenhorst opted to be cremated (making forensic investigation impossible).
Like any Angel of Death, Hogel began ‘the game’ by trying to induce heart failure and then revive his patients. This made him look like a hero to his colleagues and to grateful family members. He’d fly high on the adrenaline and praise for a while… until the urge to do it would overtake him again. After a while though, Hogel admitted to causing fatal or near-fatal events simply out of “boredom.” A regular shift in the intensive care unit wasn’t enough excitement or attention for Niels, so injecting patients with his dangerous cocktail became a pastime that often yielded disastrous results.
Hogel’s narcissism and lack of empathy allowed him to continue unabated until he was finally stopped. Then, after he was in custody, he talked openly about his activities, seemingly proud of the acumen he possessed at doing it without getting caught for so long. You see, for the Angel of Death, it’s about “being appreciated” for whatever skill it is they deem important. Whether that’s saving lives or taking them depends merely on the situation.