The good nurse

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I’ve already told you that I don’t like reading books. On the other hand, I enjoy reading reviews of books. My favorites bar has a folder called the ‘Review’ folder, where I house reviews from diverse sources, of writings that make equally diverse parts of my anatomy twang like a tuning fork.

My top reviewers are from NY Times, Economist, New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, First Post, Hindu, BBC, Der Speigel, Dawn, Al Jazeera. And Hustler. Oh yeah, you’ll be surprised at how profound Hustler’s opinions can be sometimes. That’s twelve reviewers in all. You read twelve reviews of the same book, trust me, you’ll know everything about the damned book. You can save the $11.99 for a date with twelve Miss Stellas. (Even more, if you count the refund from the empties).

The Economist has funny cartoons by KAL that I love. The New Yorker is a lesson on how to write engagingly. Like Spunkybong, Time gives everything the Time touch. Newsweek, FirstPost and Der Spiegel have very aggressive and highly sensationalized styles of their own. The Hindu, BBC, Dawn and Aljazeera are there when you want the real story behind the headlines.

Hustler? Hang on, I just received the latest issue in the mail. Listen, can we carry on this conversation after around seven minutes please?

Now, where were we? Yeah, we were talking about books. Honestly, who has the f—in’ time to sit and read a whole book in today’s fast-paced world? Most books are 75% ghanor-ghanor-panor-panor. (That’s Bengali for rambling on and on).

The latest book review I read was –

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THE GOOD NURSE- A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder

by

Charles Graeber

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The book is a graphic account by a journalist, Charles Graeber, of the unraveling and capture of arguably the world’s most prolific serial killer ever, a male nurse named Charlie Cullen. I remember being horrified reading the story in the news when the guy was arrested ten years back.

The nine hospitals in the eastern US where Cullen had worked, as a nurse in their cardiac wards, thought very highly of him initially during the first few months of his employment. His peers and the physicians on duty were amazed at how he’d jump into the fray whenever an emergency arose with a patient and always would invariably take just the right steps to revive the guy. The consensus was that Cullen would have made a great doc if he went through med school.

What they didn’t suspect was that he was the one who created those emergencies and therefore knew well what to expect. He shot patients full of lethal overdoses of dangerous drugs, well above prescribed limits and had been doing this for 16 years, in nine hospitals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, beginning sometime in the mid-80s. The number of patients who died as a direct result of his overdoses is estimated to be 500 plus.

Each establishment had suspected him of dark and gross wrongdoing and quietly terminated his services. One even wrote on his service record, “Would not consider for rehire — medication issue.” Nevertheless, Cullen would just move to another county and apply for a new job there. Nurses being always on demand, he had no problems getting hired. Astonishingly, while applying for the next job, he never withheld the details of his previous employers.

Exhibiting no remorse, not even sure why he did what he did, ever ready to discuss his dysfunctional childhood to show massive abuse, Cullen is a text-book psychopath. He would have been caught much earlier, had it not been for the eagerness of ambitious hospital ‘risk managers’ to cover up his misdeeds, the way that the Roman Catholic Church attempted to stonewall attempts to uncover evidence of their priests practicing pedophilia.

Imagine being done in by the same guy in whose hands you place your life.

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