Nurse Accused of Another Euthanasia Death in Maryland

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 6, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Nurse Accused of Another Euthanasia Death in Maryland

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 6, 2003

Gaithersburg, MD ( — An intensive care nurse at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital is under investigation for the possible euthanasia deaths of several patients. The nurse is now accused of taking another man’s life in October.

The family of John Lieb is accusing nurse Carol Thompson of hastening his death by wrongfully giving him a morphine injection after the family agreed he should be removed from a respirator.

The drug should have been administered slowly through an IV bag but Thompson inserted the drugs directly into the patient’s arm, according to the lawsuit. As she was killing Thompson, she told the family he would be dead within half an hour.

Lieb began shaking, trembling and struggling for breath, according to the lawsuit.

"It’s negligent to do that," the family’s attorney, Zev Gershon, who is also a physician, told the Washington Post. "Maybe she wasn’t an angel of mercy. Maybe she was just stupid."

Thompson’s lawyer, Philip H. Armstrong said he could not respond to specifics in the lawsuit but denied that his client had negligently or willfully done anything that
led to a patient’s death.

Armstrong said Thompson is being blamed for other problems occuring at the health facility and said Thompson has never been involved in a euthanasia.

However, the Maryland Board of Nursing, which regulates nurses in the state, revoked her license in mid-July.

Thompson allegedly hastened the death of a 63 year-old patient woman on a ventilator who was being treated for respiratory failure and other medical problems and was on numerous medications.

On the evening of July 6, Thompson allegedly watched as the patient’s blood pressure plummeted from 116 over 46 to 11 over 11. Thompson called a physician five hours after the problems began, but it was too late, a document from the nursing board states.

Thompson is also accused of hastening the death of Richard Feller, 84. Feller was scheduled to be taken off of life support by his family, but the hospital said his death may have been hastened.

"While this particular instance has not yet been fully investigated, it does draw attention to the need for health care professionals to respect the lives and the end-of-life wishes of their critically-ill patients," David Lam, director of Maryland Right to Life, told