Former nurse charged with 2 patient deaths at Atrium hospital

A former nurse at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has been charged with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder, Forsyth County, N.C., District Attorney Jim O'Neill told local news outlets during an Oct. 25 press conference.

Mr. O'Neill said Jonathan Hayes, a former nurse at the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based hospital,  administered a lethal dose of insulin to two patients; once on Jan. 5 and once on Jan. 22. Both of those patients died several days later. Mr. Hayes also faces a third charge of attempted murder for administering a near-fatal dose to a third patient on Dec. 1, 2021, the district attorney said during a press conference posted on FOX affiliate WGHP's website. 

Mr. O'Neill said an investigative team at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center presented his office and Winston-Salem police with information in March that appeared to indicate Mr. Hayes administered the lethal doses of insulin. The district attorney's office then handed the investigation over to the Winston-Salem Police Department, and the hospital "immediately agreed without hesitation" to assist law enforcement with their investigation, providing police with all requested information.

"Over the last several months, the Winston-Salem Police Department conducted a thorough investigation that included interviews, collection of evidence and discussions with family members of the deceased," Mr. O'Neill said. "The totality of the information provided to me led me to only one conclusion: That probable cause existed to support charging who can only be described as a rogue nurse with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder." 

All available evidence indicates the former nurse acted alone, according to the district attorney. 

A spokesperson for Atrium Health sent the following statement to Becker's

"We are deeply saddened and concerned by this situation. When we first learned of these disturbing events, we reached out to extend our deepest condolences and apologies to the patients' family members.

"As soon as we identified a deviation in patient care as part of our established patient safety processes, we took immediate action to remove the employee from the patient care environment and terminated their employment. We immediately contacted law enforcement and have also notified the appropriate regulators and licensing boards and have been working with them throughout their investigations. We sincerely appreciate the diligent efforts of the Winston-Salem Police Department and District Attorney Jim O'Neill and pledge our full support to them as they continue to determine facts related to the case.

"What is alleged to have taken place certainly does not represent the high standards of safety and integrity that we always expect from each and every one of our dedicated teammates. We have conducted an in-depth analysis to ensure we have done everything possible so an event like this can never happen again."

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