Comment on: Don't rush to judgement on Stepping Hill
Susan Nelles, (Canada), Lucia de Berk (the Netherlands), Colin Norris, Ben Geen all over again.
Elizabeth Yardley and David Wilson kindly sent me the spreadsheet (16 nurses, 22 red-flags) of their paper.
Today I computed the Ramsland checklist score for Lucia de Berk. I used the information which was believed to be true in the period 2004-2006 ie before any kind of public movement started claiming a miscarriage of justice, *after* a conviction both at a lower court and at an appeal court. I answered the questions according to the information you would have found in the judges' summing up and in the (quality) newspapers.
Result: Lucia is the winner with a score of 15, which is 4 bigger than the record-holder Charles Cullen !!!
This is not entirely surprising, since Ramsland used a previous study by Yorker et al., and one of the "et al" was a Dutch ex-nurse Paula Lampe who wrote a lurid book about Lucia in the early years of the case. There is also connection to the professional FBI profiler Alan Brantley who was an expert for the prosecution and also wrote a paper (in the FBI Law Enforcement bulletin) on his experiences in the Dutch case.
In other words: a number of the items on the list were *inspired* by the evil witch Lucia.
BTW the information which Elizabeth Yardley and David Wilson used to compile the "red flag" checklist for their 16 cases ... came from newspapers. Well, newspapers certainly are an extremely reliable source of information when you are researching Health Care Serial Killers! The Dutch nurse Lucia de Berk scored extremely high, according to newspaper reports. She even had two Stephen King novels about serial killers at home (overdue? stolen???). This is why the original inventor of the red flag checklist, Prof. Katherine Ramsland from the U.S., put "owning books about serial killers" on her list back in 2006 when Lucia was still a convicted serial killer. And they found some medicines at home in the medicine cupboard (aspirins?) which seemed to have come from the hospital. In the past she had had psychotherapy and all that ... like so many of us.
Interestingly, the Ben Geen case was triggered by a high rate of respiratory arrests ... that in retrospect was not high at all. It was about the same as last year! See NHS inquiry report into Horton General. And it was inflated by adding "respiratory depression" to "respiratory arrest". ie a patient fainting was another item on the score list. In the Netherlands, the number of deaths on Lucia's ward in her bad year was claimed to be exceptionally high. A year earlier and a year later it was indeed close to zero. But two years earlier and two years later it was larger! That fact was suppressed by the hospital director (he knew it - he had changed the name of the ward so that he could truthfully say that on Lucia's ward deaths were unusual). What really triggered those cases was (a) a notable personality, leading to gossip and suspicion, to polarized feelings of colleagues about Ben /Lucia, (b) both Lucia and Ben remarking to their colleagues that many events happened on their shifts (that was true - probably just chance, but noticeable), (c) and finally medical errors leading to dramatic and unexpected events which were rapidly linked with the "weird nurse".
The data analysed in the article (N = 16) ... comes from newspaper reports. That's state of the art criminology for you.