Capturing the Killer Nurse recounts the events that led to the capture of serial killer Charles Cullen. The documentary is now streaming on Netflix.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
Amy Loughren, a nurse who once worked at Somerset Medical Center, along with her colleagues, sits down to talk about the kind of nurse Charles Cullen was.
Loughren describes him as the best teammate she had, while Nurse Donna Hargreaves recalled how their colleagues referred to her, Loughren, and Charles as the three musketeers.
Things began whirling around when a patient named Reverend Gall, who was actually getting better, suddenly passed away.
Inquiries about a drug named Digoxin, which is used to treat heart failure, were made at the New Jersey Poison Control Center. The hospital reported that it has been discovering Dig-toxicity in a number of patients.
The New Jersey Poison Control Center told them that they have a police matter on their hands, but the administrators at the hospital opted to solve this internally.
Three months later, Detective Tim Braun and Detective Danny Baldwin were invited to join the case.
Charles Cullen soon became the focal point of the investigation, owing to his criminal records and the number of hospitals he has worked for from time to time.
The detectives soon made contact with New Jersey Poison Control Center and realized that the hospital has been keeping evident information away from them.
A pattern emerged where the cases involving Cullen in these other hospitals were stopped due to a lack of evidence. The hospitals let Charles go, stating that he was not good enough.
The detectives moved their focus to the Pyxis machine from the hospital, wondering what kind of medicines Charles has been taking out.
They got to that machine but were still far away from charging Charles. In order to keep Charles away from the patients, the detectives found a discrepancy in his application form and asked the officials at the hospital to fire him.
They later conducted interviews with the hospital staff under the condition of allowing a hospital representative to be there during those.
The representative stepped out for some reason while Amy was being interviewed, and the detectives chanced upon the situation to show her Charles’ Pyxis report. Amy was left shaken after glancing at those.
She told them about an incident where she literally saw Charles injecting a patient, who later died.
Detective Baldwin and Amy began working together to stop Charles, with Amy risking her career by talking to the cops without a hospital representative by her side.
Capturing the Killer Nurse ending explained in detail:
How evidence against Charles was gathered?
Amy Loughren examined the Pyxis reports further and found out that Charles has been ordering deadly medications and then canceling them immediately after grabbing one of them. This way, the reports suggested that the order was canceled.
Amy soon got the Cerner reports for them, and the detectives began cross-referencing. They needed a body, so they contacted Reverend Gall’s family to exhume Gall’s body, which was the strongest case they had.
Despite all of that, the detectives were still lacking a few pieces of evidence a jury would like to see.
One of Amy’s essential roles in this investigation was to maintain her relationship with Charles. She decided to meet him upon hearing that he had gotten a job.
Amy revealed to him that she knows about his crimes and tried to comfort him. For the very first time, she saw a different side of Charles, who was nervous.
The detectives wasted no time in arresting him from that point on in an attempt to stop him from going to another hospital.
Why did Charles kill his patients?
The detectives tried hard to pull a confession out of Charles’s mouth, and when they failed, they called Amy again.
Amy sat down to talk to him and explained how her life is about to end as she is being implicated and how he could be the one to save her. She then began questioning Charles about Father Gall’s death, and Charles admitted that he injected him with digoxin.
Charles confessed to the cops that he felt like he couldn’t watch people get hurt, die, and be treated like non-humans. All he wanted was to end their suffering.
How many people did Charles kill and what is the ‘Cullen Law’?
Charles Cullen went on to confess that he murdered 29 patients and attempted to kill six more, but the experts believe that he is responsible for killing around 400 people.
That count would make Charles the most prolific serial killer in American history.
In March of 2008, Charles was sentenced to 18 consecutive life sentences, which he is currently serving in the New Jersey State Prison.
Following Charles’ confession in 2003, Somerset Medical Center and other New Jersey hospitals supported the passing of the ‘Cullen Law’.
This law requires healthcare providers to report any employee’s impairment, incompetence, or misconduct that could affect patient safety.