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What Happened To Amy Loughren, The Nurse Who Exposed Charles Cullen’s Serial Murders?
In 2003, nurse Amy Loughren worked with Somerset detectives to figure out if Charles Cullen was responsible for the deaths of numerous patients who died under mysterious circumstances.
When investigators approached nurse Amy Loughren in 2003 about the possibility that her colleague, Charles Cullen, had killed numerous patients at Somerset Medical Center in New Jersey, she was hoping it wouldn’t be true.
“I didn't want to see it,” she recently told the BBC. “I wanted to believe that he was a mercy killer so that I could still care about him. And he wasn't a mercy killer. He was a cold-blooded murderer. And for me to not have seen that, I really did struggle."
The pair had worked alongside each other at the hospital, tending to patients during their night shifts. Cullen made her laugh and she enjoyed his company, telling People, "We bonded right away and became friends."
So when detectives Danny Baldwin and Tim Braun approached her about the possibility that Cullen was a murderer, she was apprehensive. But she also couldn’t deny that Cullen’s actions — he had looked at health charts for patients who weren’t under his care hours before their deaths — were suspicious.
"It was very, very obvious there was something not right," Loughren told People.
Though she was sick — Loughren had a heart condition — she continued to work with Cullen, while also gathering evidence on his alleged crimes. She even agreed to wear a wire and confront Cullen about the alleged murders, telling People, “I was terrified.”
She remembered broaching the subject with Cullen, who allegedly told her that he was “going to go down fighting.”
Eventually, he confessed to killing at least 29 patients by injecting their IV bags with fatal doses of drugs, including insulin and digoxin, according to the New York Times. In March 2006, he was convicted of 22 murders and three attempted murders, later being sentenced to 11 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole.
Loughren, whose story is now being dramatized in the Netflix film “The Good Nurse,” starring Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne, is proud of her actions, even though she initially felt guilty about betraying a friend.
“I literally risked everything to make sure he was behind bars,” she told the BBC. “And I was showing up every single day and pushing myself every single day no matter how sick I was. I still showed up to be a mom. I still showed up to be a good nurse and watching her [Jessica], I could be proud of that character. It opened up a space for me to say: 'I did good'."
Cullen’s conviction led to numerous reforms within the health care system, with New Jersey implementing the “Cullen Law,” which requires health care entities to report “any employed health care professional’s impairment, incompetence or professional misconduct relating to patient safety, as well as to inquire with other healthcare entities about the disciplinary and employment records of current or prospective healthcare professionals within their own organizations.”
To learn more about the crimes of Charles Cullen, check out "Snapped Notorious: Prescription for Death" on Oxygen. And for more stories of deadly medicine, watch "Dr. Death," the story of Christopher Duntsch, on Peacock.