In 2004, Charles Cullen was arrested and charged in the deaths of more than 30 patients in his care. Crossing several jurisdictions in seven counties in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, he was stopped after a fifteen-year spree at ten institutions. While many people do not think of healthcare workers as serial killers, their profession is disproportionately represented among the serial killer population, and they tend to be more prolific than other serial killers, having more opportunities, better cover, and easy alibis. Healthcare professionals who kill have learned how to exploit the atmosphere of trust in the healthcare community and to hasten deaths that may go unnoticed in an already vulnerable arena. This book delves into the world of the healthcare serial killer, looking at the special characteristics of the different groups of murderers, the motives, the methods, and the outcomes.
Crime specialists have long suspected that many healthcare serial killers have gone undetected. Because it is easier to cover up their crimes, it is harder to uncover that a crime has even been committed. Here, Ramsland identifies some of the warning signs that a serial killer may be on the loose in a healthcare setting. Further, she offers suggestions for reform in the healthcare and criminal justice communities that would help identify potential killers before they have a chance to strike, or strike again. Using numerous real-life cases in every chapter, she provides a fuller picture of this most deadly type of serial killer and helps readers understand how they work, and how they can be stopped.