The Good Nurse on Netflix: The chilling true story of Charles Cullen who killed 40 patients
A colleague who called Cullen a friend was who brought him to justice
Netflix has just released crime drama film The Good Nurse, based on the chilling true story of serial killer Charles Cullen. Cullen, a nurse, confessed to killing up to 40 of his patients. It’s believed the number of people he killed is closer to 400, which would make Cullen the most prolific serial killer in US history.
It was after the sudden death of two patients in a hospital in New Jersey that a series of chilling crimes began to be unravelled. Here’s the full true story behind The Good Nurse on Netflix.
The Good Nurse on Netflix is based on the true story of Charles Cullen
Charles Cullen was born in New Jersey in 1960. His father died before Cullen’s first birthday, and his mother passed away following a car accident when Cullen was in his teens. Cullen graduated from nursing school in 1987, got married, and became a nurse. In 1993, Cullen divorced his wife, with whom he shared two daughters.
It’s then believed Cullen started killing his first victims. His crimes were committed over a period of 16 years, before he was found out in 2003.
He had reportedly been working at a few hospitals and nursing homes during his career, and was investigated for misconduct a number of times. He was accused of going into patients’ rooms and giving them injections when he wasn’t their assigned nurse, and hiding medicines.
From 1998 to 2002, Cullen worked as an agency member of staff – and it is believed he killed more people during this time, too. Cullen would drug his victims with something called digoxin – it’s lethal in high doses, and usually used to treat heart failure. He would also inject patients’ saline pouches with lethal doses of insulin, among other drugs.
In 2003, it was finally found out what Cullen had done. At the time, Florian Gall was in the care of Somerset Medical Centre in Somerville, New Jersey. There, Florian Gall had a sudden heart attack and died, despite showing signs of improvement previously. After investigating, it was found Gall had been given a lethal dose of digoxin.
Whilst working at this hospital, Cullen met Amy Loughren, who would be key to bringing his crimes to an end. Amy, who was a nurse there, and Cullen became friends, but she was later the one who built up the criminal case against him with detectives. The pair have been described as “inseparable” when they were friends, talking about Cullen’s divorce, and sharing late night snacks together on shift.
Amy had taken on nightshifts and Cullen had be brought in as someone “experienced” to help with the workload. Amy was ill, and taking on extra work to try and pay for medical insurance, and Cullen even helped her cover up her illness at work, and helped to look after her two daughters when she was ill.
But, in November 2003, Amy was given documents showing the drugs Cullen had been ordering, and then she “knew he was murdering people” because of the number of lethal medications listed. The documents were provided by Somerset County Detectives Tim Braun and Danny Baldwin, and Amy agreed to help them bring Cullen to justice. She then tried to gather more evidence, and admitted to trying to manipulate Cullen into a confession.
Cullen was arrested in December 2003. He was brought in for one first-degree murder and one attempted murder, and the next day, shocked officers by telling them there were so many more.
He initially told authorities he had only given the drugs to “very sick” patients, in an attempt to end their pain. He admitted to killing between 30 and 40 of his patients, but this number is believed to be closer to 400. In 2006, Charles Cullen was convicted of 29 murders and given 11 life sentences.
The Good Nurse is available on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook.