Police in the United Kingdom have been investigating the deaths of three patients - Tracey Arden, 44, George Keep, 84, and Arnold Lancaster, 71 - as well as the treatment of 14 others who they say were given saline IV's tainted with insulin. A fourth victim is currently fighting for his life, The Telegraph newspaper reported.
In the course of their investigation police have since arrested a 26-year-old nurse at Stepping Hill NHS hospital in Manchester in connection with the deaths. The name of the suspect was not released.
The investigation began earlier this week after numerous patients mysteriously became ill. Police and hospital personnel, who say they don't believe the cases are more widespread, are calling the suspect a "saboteur." More than 60 police officers and detectives have been assigned to work the case, with many of them on duty at the hospital itself.
Not surprisingly, most of the hospital staff are "shocked, horrified and angry" about the alleged crimes.
"They are alarmed that a place that should be for care has become a crime scene," said Dr. Chris Burke, chief executive of Stepping Hill NHS Foundation Trust, in describing the reactions of most of the staff.
"This is a criminal act, perpetrated by someone with malicious intent, and we do not believe it could have anticipated," he added. "This is a bad person doing a malevolent thing. It is about someone wanting to inflict harm, pain and, possibly further, as a deliberate malicious act. That is nothing to do with care."
The UK case is far from the first time health care providers have been accused of murdering their patients. In Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a doctor and two nurses were accused of euthanizing patients who could not be evacuated from a New Orleans hospital.
The one principle that healthcare providers are taught to always observe is "Do No Harm." When they don't, it violates a very necessary and sacred bond of trust between provider and patient that is difficult, if not impossible, to get back.