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Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1993 12:09:29
From: ICAD Editors
Subject: FWD>Caregivers who Kill

------------------ Subject: Caregivers who Kill Nurses, physicians, and attendants have a long history of killing people with disabilities, young children, and the elderly. Jane Toppan who confessed to  killing 31 and is believed by some experts to have killed 70 to 100 people as a student nurse, and nurse's aide around the turn of the century is quoted as saying, "That is my ambition, to have killed more peopleQmore helpless peopleQthan any man or woman who has ever lived."

Jane's ambition, however, was never realized since many others seem to have substantially exceeded her numbers. For example Donald Harvey, a nursing assistant, also known as the Angel of Death, killed people in at least 3 US hospital over a period of 17 years and is belived to have killed twice as many as Toppan.
In many other cases, patterns of suspicious deaths in institutional care occur involving 50 to well over 100 probable homocides with no one convicted of the murders. Motives for these murders seem unclear. When cornered many of the perpetrators claim that these are mercy killings, but this rarely seems to fit with the facts. For example, the husband of Cathy Wood a nursing assistant convicted of killing five people in a Grand Rapids Michigan, Nursing Home, suggested that she should receive a light sentence because these were mercy killings and the people killed had little to lose, but Cathy suggested that the motive was merely "fun," and that she and her accomplice chose people by their initials. Trying to spesll out an anagram "MURDER" with their initials in a book that recorded deaths in the nursing home. Similarly Beverly Allit, a nurse recently convicted in England of killing 5 children and thought to be responsible for the deaths of 60 or more, killed some who had only minor illnesses (e.g., a bad cold). This is hard to explain as euthanasia.

Hospitals, nursing homes, and institutions often seem to be more concerned about their reputations than apprehending the perpetrators. For example, in another turn of the century case, Jeanne Webber, had already been indicted for murdering 8 children as a babysitter, when she was hired as a nursing assistant in a children's hospital. When she was caught in the act of strangleing a child in her first week of work, the hospital administration quietly dismissed her to avoid embarassment. Shortly thereafter she returned to childcare and child murder.

Caregiver serial killers probably may be responsible for more deaths each year than the transient sexual psychopath serial killers that receive much more public attention. Nevertheless, there has been little serious work profiling this group of murderers.

The University of Alberta Abuse & Disability project is currently initiating a project to study this group. We would be interested in hearing about any other cases that you may know of.

So far we have identfied about 40 cases. Also, we would be interested in any ideas that you may have about motivation, patterns, or other aspects of these offenses.

One of the questions that these murders raise is related to other forms of "euthanasia" and withholding care. Are these another (more respectable form) of the same urge to kill or are these efforts better intentioned? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Date: Mon, 14 Nov 1994 17:41:34 U
From: ICAD Editors
Subject: Another Killer Nurse?

Aleata Beach, 48, a nurse at Grady Memorial Hospital in Oklahoma has been charged with the murders of four patients who died under her care last August. She detailed how she killed them in a suicide note three days after the last patient died. Mrs. Beach, however, has recovered from her suicide attempt and now denies the murders, suggesting that her "deathbed confession" was false and due to her confused stated at the time.

Dick Sobsey
Abuse & Disability Project
6-102 Education North
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB T6G 2G5 CANADA
Phone: 403/ 492-3755 Fax: 403/492-1318

Date: Wed, 23 Nov 1994 10:40:10 U
From: ICAD Editors
Subject: Tale of Two murders... Agai

According to the Associated Press, Susan Smith who killed her two sons in South Carolina says that she did it out of love. She wanted to spare them the pain of a broken family and being separated from their dear mother.

Canadian newspapers have been ablaze with stories of child murder in the last week. The community was shaken with outrage as Susan Smith, a South Carolina mother confessed to killing her two young sons. At first she had tried to cover up the killing with a false story, but in the end she admitted it. According to media reports, people in the small South Carolina town were traumatized and were having problems sleeping and eating. A dozen crisis counsellors had to be called into action to manage the situation. Flowers and sympathy cards poured in from across the 50 states and Canada. President Clinton called to express his personal condolences to the community. Teddy bears and crosses began to appear at the site of the drowning as throngs of grief stricken visitors tears mingled with with the murky waters of the lake. Susan Smith was thoroughly ostracised by the community. The shock waves reached thousands of kilometres across Canada; Here in Edmonton, a three-meter-long sympathy banner proclaiming "Canada Cares" and filled with the signatures of well wishers is being sent to South Carolina to mourn the murdered brothers. Television and newspaper pictures showed a woman who covered her face with shame. She had to be held in custody at an undisclosed location and guarded from the outraged community as screams of epithets like "baby murderer" assaulted her at every confrontation with angry citizens. Our shock, dismay, and outrage that a parent could commit such an act (Two thirds of murdered children are killed by their own parents) are healthy reactions to a horrible crime.

In another story, a little closer to home, in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, another parent is on trial for murdering his child. Like Susan Smith, Robert Latimer tried to cover the killing of his daughter with a lie, but confessed when the evidence became too strong. Like Smith, Latimer may have been under great stress. Like the community of Union, South Carolina, the community of Wilkie, Saskatchewan also reacted with sympathy and outrage, but their sympathy was for a father who confessed to killing his daughter and their outrage was directed toward the police and prosecutors who charged him with murder. Unlike the two South Carolina brothers who were murdered, Tracy Lynn Latimer who was killed by her father was severely handicapped with cerebral palsy. Robert Latimer, her father is not ashamed and the rather than being ostracised, his friends and neighbors have taken up a collection to defend him for a "mercy-killing." Outside the courthouse where his trial began on Monday, he told reporters, "I think anyone who believes in this charge is a torture monger."

Some people may object to tying the Tracy Latimer's murder to that of Susan Smith, but the media has consistently tied it to Sue Rodriguez case which has less in common with it. It is true that unlike Michael and Alexander Smith, Tracy Latimer and Sue Rodriguez were disabled. However, unlike Sue Rodriguez, the South Carolina brothers and Tracy Latimer were all killed by their parents, and, more importantly, they never asked to be killed. Like Robert Latimer, Susan Smith says that she killed her children out of love. Which differences and which simialarities more important?

What makes the Saskatchewan case so different from the one in South Carolina? Where are the "Canada Cares" banners for children with disabilities?" Where are the flowers, cards, and teddy bears? Crimes against people with disabilities are chronically trivialized. This month, an Alberta Court of Appeals Court had to overrule the sentence of a male nurse who was given an 18 month sentence for sexually assaulting a woman who was strapped to a bed in the intensive care unit of local hospital because the original judge had given a lighter sentence because the woman's condition was considered "favorable" to the perpetrator. We are worried about whether the violence of Power Rangers is a bad model for Canadian children, while we present a model that says its wrong for parents to kill their children unless they are disabled. Where are our tears for Tracy Latimer? Perhaps when we ask "for whom the bell tolls?" we should begin to realize that it tolls a lot louder for some children than others.

-Dick Sobsey, Director, University of Alberta Developmental Disabilities Centre

This and follow-up articles can be found in the Abusive Caregivers category.

Date: Tue, 10 Jan 1995 09:09:09 U
Reply-To: ICAD-L Discussion List
Sender: ICAD-L Discussion List
From: ICAD Editors
Subject: VA Hospital Deaths

Subject: VA Hospital Deaths

CNN reported yesterday on an FBI investigation of a pattern of suspicious deaths in a Vetern's Administration Hospital. No conclusions have been reached but the 55 deaths on a single unit of the hospital during a five month period was not easily explained by random chance. Bodies are currently being exhumed and according to a report patients were 20 times more likely to die when a certain nurse was on duty than when any other staff member was working. That unnamed nurse is no longer employed by the VA but according to the report he is working at a nursing home in the same geographical area.

Dick Sobsey
Abuse &Disability Project
6-102 Education North
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB T6G 2G5 CANADA
Phone: 403/ 492-3755 Fax: 403/492-1318

Date: Wed, 8 Feb 1995 17:24:26 -0500
From: Ken Jaffee
Subject: Stop the Killings of Street Kids

From: Dick Sobsey

I am reposting this item for the information of list members. While most of the children killed in Brazil do not have disabilities, many do and virtually all are marginalized like children with disabilities. A sign left around the neck of one murdered child there said "we killed you because you cannot read."

Dear NGO Representative,

On behalf of the International Child Resource Institute (ICRI) Brazil Project, we would like to request your assistance in a worldwide effort to stop the killings of street children in Brazil. The lack of political will to effectively tackle the wide-spread violence against the children of the poor in Brazil and to prosecute their assailants is one of the key reasons for the four daily murders of children and adolescents in that country. We urge you to voice your concern in this orchestrated effort of the international community by endorsing the enclosed petition.

The ICRI Brazil Project has prepared this petition in collaboration with the Brazilian National Movement of Street Children (MNMMR). At present, hundreds of human and children's rights groups around the world are being contacted by the Brazil Project to form a strong network against the impunity of death squad members in Brazil.

To participate, contact our office either by letter, phone, fax, or Email to let us know that your organization agrees to endorse the document. We will need from you complete contact information (name of organization, contact name, address, phone and fax numbers). In the end of March, the MNMMR will deliver the petition with the list of endorsing organizations into the hands of Brazil's newly elected President, Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Your participation is crucial!

The Brazil Project is a program of the International Child Resource Institute, headquartered in Berkeley, California. ICRI is a 14 year-old non-governmental organization with field representatives in 52 countries, dedicated to the survival and success of children and their families around the world.

The Brazil Project Program and Awareness Campaign seeks to inspire, organize, and direct international support to Brazilian efforts to provide street children with protection, care, and opportunities.

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (510) 644-1000.

Sincerely Yours,

Caius Brandao Laura Yang Project
Coordinator Campaign Coordinator

Brazil Prins Street Berkeley, California 94707
Phone: (510) 644-1000 Fax: (510) 525-4106 Email:

March ..., 1995

Federative Republic of Brazil Fernando Henrique Cardoso President
of Brazil Praca dos Tres Poderes Palacio do Planalto, Third Floor
70160-900 Brasilia-DF Brazil

Dear President Cardoso,

We write to you today both to congratulate you as you initiate your presidency, and to wish you success in your efforts to lead Brazil to a better future for all its citizens. But what bring us together in addressing you is our deep concern for those citizens of Brazil that comprise its future generations: its children and adolescents.

Over the last decade a serious movement on behalf of the rights of children has grown in Brazil, and its achievements have been impressive. Yet, in spite of these gains, destitute children and adolescents continue to be murdered with impunity. We urge you to use full power of your office to end the extra-judicial killings of children and adolescents in Brazil and to bring to justice members of death squads and others responsible for these crimes.

We share the indignation felt by many Brazilians over the impunity enjoyed by murderers of poor adolescents and children. Professional killers continue to profit from these crimes and, if anything, killings of children and adolescents have escalated. We cite the following statistics:

- According to the National Movement of Street Children (MNMMR) and the Brazilian Institute for Social and Economic Analyses (IBASE), 1,937 children and adolescents were killed during the period of 1984 to 1989.

- According to the Attorney General (Procurador Geral da Republica ), 5,644 children between the ages of five and seventeen were victims of violent deaths in the period between 1988 and 1991.

- According to Rio de Janeiro state governmer the age of eighteen were victims of homicide in Rio de Janeiro. In the first six months of 1993, 298 children were killed in that state.

The Center for the Mobilization of Marginalized Populations (CEAP) states that the majority of the victims are impoverished male adolescents of African descent. In addition to being at risk of homicides, these young Brazilian are frequently humiliated, tortured, and mutilated at the hands of their assailants.

The wide-spread ideological argument that every poor child is a 'potential criminal' is not only groundless, but also cruel and deeply prejudicial. A report released by the Rio de Janeiro's State Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry revealed that 90% of the adolescents killed in the State had no previous police record. Nevertheless, death squads operate in many Brazilian states. Police officers are frequently accused of murdering destitute minors, and businessmen are alleged to contract professional killers to 'clean the streets'. According to the MNMMR, Marco de Lima, a city official in Novo Hamburgo from the Party of the Brazilian Democratic Movement (PMDB) went so far as to declare that "We have to kill when they are still young, so they do not bother us after they grow up".

The MNMMR and Amnesty International estimate that over 90% of the crimes committed against Brazilian Children and Adolescents go unpunished. The resulting climate of impunity subverts the Law and undermines the State's responsibility to meet out justice. In effect, to ignore these killings is to condone an unofficial 'death penalty" that victimizes society's most disadvantaged and vulnerable members: its children and adolescents.

Sadly, the world at large is witness to the failure of the Brazilian judicial system and law-enforcement agencies to uphold national laws designed to protect the human rights of children and adolescents. We are also aware that the foundation for change is being prepared by Brazilian society. In the past ten years civil society has taken many positive steps to curb violence against the children of the poor. Eager to consolidate the process of democratization and to avoid social chaos, community agents, neighborhood associations, the church, minority groups, unions, and non-governmental organizations have raised children's issues as national priorities in the political agenda. The plight of Brazilian street children led to the passage of the landmark Child and Adolescent Statute, which stands among the world's most advanced legislation on children's rights. The Statutes aims not only to guarantee fundamental rights to all Brazilian youth, but also to promote a new concept of childhood which could become a model to other nations. This legislation provides excellent tools which now need to be enacted in practice. We hope your administration will commit to fully implement the Child And Adolescent Statute. This bold initiative merits cooperation and support from the international community. We urge you to use the full power of you office to guarantee that the Child and Adolescent Statute, a remarkable document, does not become a dead letter. With regard to impunity, the Child and Adolescent Statute states that:

No child or adolescent will be subject to any form of negligence, discrimination, exploitation, violence, cruelty, or oppression, and any violation of their fundamental rights, either by act or omission, will be punished according to the terms of the law. [Article 5]

While a few of the most egregious massacres of children in Brazil have generated commendable responses from federal and state governments, these measures have rarely led to full investigations or prosecutions, nor have they succeeded in altering the general fact of impunity that makes such massacres possible. We call on you to use your authority as President to reinvigorate efforts to guarantee rights for children. We believe that leadership at the highest levels of government is necessary if lasting change is to occur, and the gratuitous murder of children and adolescents is truly to end.

The following cases represent just a few of the many unresolved incidents involving the murder of children and adolescents. Their resolution, however, would represent an important step toward ending impunity:

Sao Paulo - 06/12/94, in Taboao da Serra, where three adolescents were executed (Alexandre Lima, 17; Andre Cerqueira, 14; and Adriano Cerqueira, 12).

Amazonas - 06/24/94, in Manaus, where five adolescents were massacred (Joel Santos Xavier, 18; Jander da Silva, 15; Antonio Cleuter Articlinio, 14; and Moises Pereira da Silva, 16). The governor of Amazonia State, Mr. Gilberto Mestrinho, prohibited the reporting of this case in the media, which shows the lack of political will to hold the perpetrators responsible for this crime.

Roraima - 08/19/93, in Haximu, where three teenage girls and six children from the Yanomami tribe were massacred by gold-miners. Their bodies were cut with machetes, and the children were decapitated.

Alagoas - 01/20/94 to 02/03/94, where seven boys were assassinated. The State Government insists that their death were the result of a gang war, but the prosecutor in charge publicly declared that they were victims of a death squad.

Espirito Santo - where investigations on death-squad activities have forced the District Attorney assigned to the case to seek help of the Federal Police. The group allegedly involved in organizing death squads is the so called TScuderie Le CocqU, which is comprised of over 800 members in the state of Espirito Santo alone.

Rio de Janeiro - 07/26/90, in Acari, where 10 teenagers were abducted and disappeared (Rozane de Souza Santos; Edson de Souza Costa; Mallace de Souza Nascimento; Luis Henrique da S. Eusebio; Antonio Carlos da Silva; Moises dos Santos Cruz; Luis Carlos V. de Deus; Edmo do Nascimento; Udson de Oliveira; and Cristiane Souza Costa). The key witness, Edmeia Euzebio, who accused police officers of being involved in the crime, was subsequently murdered.

Rio de Janeiro - 07/23/94 when seven sleeping street-children were massacred in front of the Candelaria church by a death squad allegedly made up of police officers.

Brasilia-DF - 02/02/93 when the teenager Laercio Xavier was allegedly assassinated by Sebastiao Curio de Moura, a Reserve Colonel.

President Cardoso, we wish you great success in your endeavors for Brazil and for all Brazilians. Yours is a special opportunity; we sincerely hope that today's children, and their children, come to recognize and remember your administration as the one that truly recognized the value of every child, defending the right of every child and adolescent to citizenship, and to life. We hat with you leadership such a transformation can occur. Brazil is at a critical juncture; the challenges are enormous, yet the need for change has never been greater. We stand in solidarity with each and every necessary effort toward that end.

Sincerely Yours,

.......... If you would like to endorse this petition, please contact ICRI at (510) 644-1000. .....................

Date: 28 May 95 09:59:42 EDT
From: Dave Hingsburger <>
Subject: Dr. Death

Saw this article in the Montreal Gazette on Tuesday May 23, 1995 and thought I'd send you some sections of if for the ICAD as it had some interesting facts re Kevorkian. The article was titled: Kevorkain plays by own rules: 'Dr. Death' finally gets attention. It was written by Iver Peterson of the New York Times.

Long before his name became synonymous with death and defiance, Dr. Jack Kevorkain had signaled to anyone paying attention that he worked and played by his own wrules.

As a medical student at the Uinversity of Michigan in the late 1940's he measured the pupils of cadavers on the theory that his findings would change the imprecise science of estimatine the time of death. The work was ignored.

In 1960, he wrote a book proposing the vivisection of condemned prisoners, brushing aside objections that a doomed man's consent would have doubtful moral validity.

As a pathologist in the 1970's Kevorkian experimented with transfusing blood from fresh cadavers to volunteers, infecting one of them with hepatitis. He had read that the Soviet army did this during WWII, and believed the procedure could save American battlefield casualties in Vietnam. The hospital dismissed him.

Kevorkian is obstinate because "he hates authority figures," said Geoffrey Feiger, his lawyer. Yet the doctor is by all accounts contemptuous of anyone who disagrees with him, calling his critics, "Nazis," "eunuchs" and "mental cripples."

"It's human obstacles, human thwarting, human insensitivity, human irrationality, human insanity, human barbarism that always impinges, infringes, tears, destroys," he told a suburban Detroit congregation in January 1994.

No one disputes the breadth of Kevorkian's mind. He has written several books, including the one defending prisoner vivisection and one, Prescription: Medicide, about assisted suicide. His musical skills are self-taught, on flute and keyboard, yet he can score a piece for several instruments. He also paints - large grisly canvases of death and decay. One features a decapitated corpse at dinner over its own servered head, an apple in its mouth; another portrays Santa Claus mothering Jesus in the manger. A third shows a starving child eating a corpse.

"He's a product of a life of failure," said Michael Modelski, a prosecutor .

"He has always been a crackpot and a fanatic. The Dr.Death thing started when he was at the University of Michigan and he trived on it, but nothing he tried worked out. Experimenting with dead people's corneas, the blood transfusions from cadavers, it was all a failure. Now he is in his late 60's and at last, people are paying attention to him."

After 20 years in Michigan, Kevorkian moved to Long Beach, Cal., where he worked at several hospitals. Feiger confirmed reports that Kevorkian sometimes lived in the Volkswagen camper he had acquried while working at two hospitals at once. In 1984, Kevorkian left California for Michigan, never to hold another job.

Dave Hingsbuurger

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