A male nurse who was convicted of killing patients in Germany with overdoses of heart medication is now believed to have killed at least 86 people — and the true scale of the killings could be even larger, investigators said Monday.
Many of the deaths could have been prevented if health authorities had acted more quickly on their suspicions, said Johann Kuehme, police chief in the northwestern city of Oldenburg. Niels Hoegel, now 40, was convicted in 2015 of two murders and two attempted murders at a hospital in the northwestern town of Delmenhorst. He was sentenced to life in prison. But prosecutors have long said they believe he killed many more people, last year putting the figure at 43 at least.
The crimes came to light after Hoegel was convicted of attempted murder in another case. Authorities subsequently investigated hundreds of deaths, exhuming bodies of former patients in Delmenhorst and nearby Oldenburg.
Kuehme said Monday that authorities have now unearthed evidence of 84 killings in addition to the ones for which Hoegel was convicted. The number of actual killings is likely higher because some possible victims were cremated, making it impossible to gather evidence, Kuehme added.
“Eighty-four killings … leave us speechless,” Kuehme told reporters. “And as if all that were not enough, we must realize that the real dimension of the killings by Niels H. is likely many times worse.”
The fact that the cases go back many years and people may struggle to remember the exact details of their loved ones’ deaths hurts authorities’ ability to determine an exact number, Kuehme said. He faulted local health authorities for being slow to act.
“If the people responsible at the time, particularly at the Oldenburg clinic but also later in Delmenhorst, hadn’t hesitated to alert authorities — for example police, prosecutors —” Hoegel could have been stopped earlier, Kuehme said.
Authorities are already pursuing criminal cases against former staff at the two facilities. Hoegel worked at the Oldenburg hospital from 1999 to 2002 and in Delmenhorst from 2003 to 2005. Kuehme said other medical workers at Oldenburg were aware of an elevated number of resuscitations, and initial indications of possible wrongdoing by the nurse in Delmenhorst emerged as early as April 2003.
During his trial, Hoegel had said he intentionally brought about cardiac crises in some 90 patients in Delmenhorst because he enjoyed the feeling of being able to resuscitate them. He later told investigators that he also killed patients in Oldenburg.
Prosecutors are expected to try Hoegel on at least some of the additional killings but Germany’s judicial system does not allow for consecutive sentences, so future convictions won’t affect his life term.
The identities of the suspected 84 victims haven’t been released. There was no immediate comment Monday from any representatives of victims’ families.
Nigerian trado-medicine practitioner claimed to have found complete cure for COVID-19
Amid COVID-19 scare, a good news has just came forth, as a Nigerian trado-medicine practitioner, Alhaji Sulaiman Lawal, disclosed that the solution to the pandemic was at hand, adding that his NAFDAC-approved herbal products have cured no fewer than 500 COVID-19 patients both in Nigeria and other parts of the world.
According to Lawal, his medicine, “One Stone COVID Herbal Capsule” has the efficacy to cure COVID-19 and other related diseases.
The Ogbomoso-born trado-medicine practitioner emphasized that with “One Stone COVID Herbal Capsule”, he has treated over 500 patients across the world.
Aside COVID-19 drugs, he has also manufactured drugs that could cure asthma, diabetes,tuberculosis, cancer, liver and kidney problems, hypertention, hypotension, among others.
Lawal, who claimed he inherited the knowledge from his father at a tender age, said he was among the herbal traditional practitioners that were contacted by the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Resarch and Development (NIPRID) in Abuja and other government agencies for solutions to some dreaful ailments.
Apart from curing the deadly virus, parts of the capacities of the drug, “One Stone COVID Herbal Capsule”, according to Lawal, include: antioxidant function, immune booster, efficacy to cure and prevent the airborne viruses.
He attributed the spread of the pandemic to the government’s inability to properly engage and trust the trado-medicine’s efficacy.
“The government has failed to acknowledge the efficacy of trado-medicine in providing adeqaute solutions to the virus and other deadly diaeases. I don’t really blame the government. It is due to the influx of fake herbal medicine practitioners who are hyping their junks.
“They hype their products in order to feather their own nests. For instance, my products are approved by the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control.”
While lauding the government for their efforts so far, Lawal, who is the Egbeji of Ogbomoso land, however, informed that he is open to negotiation at the beck and call of the government, organisations, private entrepreneurs, and individuals to weed off COVID-19.
53 Health Workers In Edo Infected With COVID-19
Edo State Government on Thursday disclosed that no fewer than 53 healthcare workers have been infected with the COVID-19 virus since the federal government declared a second wave of the pandemic in December.
The State COVID-19 Incident Manager, Dr. Andrew Obi, who disclosed this during a meeting of the State Taskforce on Covid-19, chaired by Governor Godwin Obaseki, also revealed that the state had recorded eight new cases and one death in the last 24 hours and added that the government will soon roll out more measures to halt the virus’ spread.
“We have, in the last 24 hours, recorded 8 new coronavirus cases and 1 new death.
“240 samples were collected from the various screening and testing centres across the state.
“As of today, Thursday, January 14, 2021, we have 238 active cases of the virus in the state.
“Since the second wave of the deadly disease, Edo State has recorded 447 confirmed cases out of which 53 are health workers. The State has also recorded 202 recoveries and 12 deaths from the disease”, Obi submitted.
He cautioned residents to observe all precautionary measures to guard against the spread of the infectious disease, including compulsory and proper use of face masks, regular handwashing with soap under running water and the use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers, observe physical distancing measures, and limit social events.
The Incident Manager urged residents with any COVID-19 symptoms to contact the Edo Emergency Operation Centre on the toll-free number 08003625000 for assistance or their nearest health facility.
Africa COVID-19 cases top 3 million, first wave peak surpassed
As COVID-19 cumulative cases in Africa top 3 million and daily case numbers exceed the first wave peak, the continent is now confronted with emerging variants of the virus. Revamped public health measures are ever more critical to avert a runaway surge in infections that could stretch health facilities to the breaking point.
An average of 25, 223 cases were reported each day between 28 December 2020 and 10 January 2021 in Africa, which is nearly 39% higher than the July 2020 two-week peak of 18 104 daily average cases. Yet numbers may rise further in the coming days in the wake of travelling, gathering and festivities over Christmas and New Year holidays.
Overall cases in the region have risen steadily since mid-September 2020, with a steeper rise from late November. In addition, a new variant of the virus called 501Y.V2 is circulating widely in South Africa, accounting for most of the new infections during the second wave.
Mutations of the virus are unsurprising as the more the pandemic spreads the higher the likelihood of changes. However, preliminary analysis finds the 501Y.V2 variation to be more transmissible. Genomic sequencing has found the variant present in Botswana, the Gambia and Zambia.
Deeper investigations are underway to fully understand the epidemiological implications, but at present there are no indications the new variant increases the severity of the disease.
“Even if the new variant is not more virulent, a virus that can spread more easily will put further strain on hospitals and health workers who are in many cases already overstretched,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa. “This is a stark reminder that the virus is relentless, that it still presents a manifest threat, and that our war is far from won.”
Nigeria is also carrying out more investigations on a variant identified in samples collected in August and October. While for now there are no reports of the COVID-19 variant circulating in the United Kingdom cropping up in the African region, further investigation is needed.
With WHO support, African countries are reinforcing genome sequencing efforts, which are key to finding and understanding new variants as they emerge and to help blunt their impact.
WHO and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention network of genome sequencing laboratories in Africa is supporting governments with training and data analysis on genome sequencing, bioinformatics and technical expertise. WHO has also developed guidance on containing new variants and is assisting countries to manage and safely transport samples for sequencing and analysis.
While much progress is being made in building genome sequencing capacity, the more than 5000 sequences which have been conducted so far in the region account for just 2% of global sequencing data.
“We call on all countries to increase testing and sequencing of the virus to swiftly spot, track and tackle new COVID-19 variants as soon as they appear. To defeat an agile, adaptive and relentless enemy, we must know and understand its every move, and double down on what we know works best against all variants of the virus,” said Dr Moeti.
“We must not become complacent. We must persist with the proven public health measures that helped stop the spread of the virus during the first wave – that’s physical distancing, constant handwashing and wearing masks in public spaces.”
Dr Moeti spoke during a virtual press conference today facilitated by APO Group. She was joined by Prof Francisca Mutapi, Professor in Global Health Infection and Immunity, University of Edinburgh, UK, and Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
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