Patient Safety - Reality Check

Kristen Gilbert

She was a gifted student who graduated from high school in two and a half years and, at the age of sixteen, enrolled as a pre-med major in college.

Her private life was not as precocious. One ex-high-school-boyfriend said she was an "intelligent manipulator" and "mentally unstable." When a relationship wasn't going well she could become verbally abusive, malicious, and even physically violent. After breaking up with one boyfriend she left him a suicide note saying she was going to eat glass. He rushed to find her relaxing on her bed.

When he began receiving Kristen Gilbert - nurse serial killer harassing phone calls, he assumed it was her and confronted her about it. She blew up dragging her fingernails through his cheek until he bled.

Another boyfriend from high school, who experienced similar treatment, had the spark plug wires torn out of his car, the tires slashed and the paint on both sides of it keyed.

At age twenty she married one of her boyfriends and within a month she tried to kill him with a kitchen knife.

At age twenty-one she became a nurse at Leeds VAMC where it seemed that a black cloud followed her because her patients kept dying.

One doctor wondering why so many of his patients were dying unexpectedly (patient safety advocates will be wondering why none of the other doctors noticed that) gathered their charts to analyze them and happened to notice that Kristen Gilbert had been the nurse for every one of them. He also noticed that it happened when no one else was around. The next time he arrived at work to find that another one of his patients had died unexpectedly on her watch, he asked her nursing manager not to assign her to anymore of his patients.

Word of his request spread among the nurses and they turned against him. This even though her black cloud had become so large that the nurses jokingly had started calling her the Angel of Death. They still had complete faith in her.

More can be read at this link to another page on this site.