Fake nurse arrested for treating coronavirus patients in hospital

Gurneys in a hospital corridor
Gurneys in a hospital corridorSimpleFotoDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

A 24-year-old man was arrested for working at the Jeroen Bosch Hospital in Den Bosch as a nurse without having the proper qualifications to do so. "The suspect monitored patients and possibly administered them medication without having any qualifications to perform these actions," the Public Prosecution Service (OM) said on Thursday. The man is in custody on suspicion of fraud, forgery and theft.

At the height of the coronavirus crisis, the government relaxed some of the requirements for healthcare workers to make it easier for workers who recently left the healthcare field to help out during the crisis. The man abused this relaxation to get his position at the Jeroen Bosch Hospital, a spokesperson for the hospital said to Omroep Brabant. 

"During the peak pressure as a result of the corona crisis, the requirements to work in healthcare were relaxed at a national level to compensate for shortages in healthcare. During this period, someone worked with us for a short period who took advantage of this relaxation and was not sufficiently qualified," the hospital said. "From tests it initially seemed that he had sufficient knowledge and skills. He also had, he said, completed appropriate training."

When the man was unable to provide the hospital with his diplomas after repeated insistence, and when permanent hospital employees raised concerns about him not meeting all the requirements, the hospital sent him away and reported him to the authorities.

The man was arrested on May 18, the OM said on Thursday. A storage box registered to him in Den Bosch and a home in Bunnik where he was staying temporarily were searched by the police. They found numerous medically related goods, including medicines, needles, various types of uniforms, corporate clothing, and a heart monitor. "The police are investigating how he got these things and what he did with them," the OM said.

The authorities are taking this matter very seriously, OM press officer Janine Kramer said. "It concerns very serious suspicions that entail great risks, primarily for the patients of the hospitals. Also in their interest there is every reason to investigate this matter extensively and we are now working on it."

The hospital is investigating whether the suspect caused any damages. "There are no indications of that yet," the hospital said to Omroep Brabant. "We would like to emphasize that the standard procedure for hiring healthcare staff at the Jeroen Bosch Hospital is very thorough and meticulous. Unfortunately, in this case, there was a person who has deliberately abused the situation in these special times. We are shocked by this situation and the deception in times when the continuity of care is more central than ever."

The suspect was arraigned on May 22 and remanded into custody for two weeks. He will appear in court on Thursday.