Kristen Gilbert, also known as the Angel of Death, is known for having the most deaths on her watch at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, or the VMAC in North Hampton, Massachusetts in 1989 (Goldberg). She worked the 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Ward C. She was called the Angel of Death because when her patients went into cardiac arrest she just happened to be near. It is believed that she caused heart attacks in her patients by injecting Epinephrine into their bloodstream. She would then be on hand when the arrest started to save them. It is believed that with some of her victims she injected them more than once in a short amount of time. They would be able to save the man and then he would go into cardiac arrest again. The victims that didn’t make it seemed to die from heart failure but it is believed that they died from Epinephrine poisoning (Poisonous Women…). Other nurses at the hospital were finding broken containers that once contained epinephrine and soon started to believe that this was connected to Gilbert (Goldberg). An investigation started and gilbert left her job once she found out she was the target and began collecting worker’s compensation for a workplace shoulder injury. Soon after leaving the hospital Gilbert began calling in bomb threats using a voice changer (When Serial Killers Strike…). She made a hero out of herself by being able to control her patient’s lives. She had the power to choose whether they lived or died and that was what ultimately took over her life. I believe that she killed for the power and control she got and that because that was the only way she got attention there was nothing that was going to stop her.
Kristen Gilbert was married and had children with her husband, Glenn Gilbert. A new security officer for the hospital, James Perrault, had befriended Gilbert while she was married but soon an affair started. She left her husband and moved into her own apartment so she could be with James (Poisonous Women…). She used the patients to show off to Perrault and spice up their relationship. She was seen once showing off her legs to make him like her more. They have a good relationship for a while but it soon falls downhill. Perrault tries to leave Gilbert but in an attempt to keep him she confesses to what she had done. She blocked his car in with her car and did everything she could to keep him around. It eventually came to the point where she began calling in bomb threats to the hospital when he was working (When Serial Killers Strike…). This is how she gets caught. She uses a payphone to call the threats in and fingerprints are found on a payphone outside of an ice cream stand (When Serial Killers Strike…). She was sentenced to four consecutive terms in prison with no chance of parole. Because Massachusetts does not use the death penalty there was no other solution.
Henry Hudon, Thomas Callahan, Kenneth Cutting, Angelo Vella, Edward Skwira, and Francis Marier are her known victims. Hudon was a 35-year-old Air Force veteran who was admitted to Ward C for the flu. He was stable until Gilbert’s shift had started later that day. It is believed that she injected him with Epinephrine three to four times. He suffered from cardiac arrest four times before he died. Toxicology tests showed that is death was caused by Epinephrine poisoning. Thomas Callahan was admitted into the ICU under Gilbert’s care. He screamed that he felt like he was going to die after she had been in the room with him. His heart rate was very high, beating 240 times per minute with extremely high blood pressure. He was in this condition for 15 minutes before he stabilized. Nurses found three used containers of Epinephrine in a needle disposal bucket in the ICU after he had an episode of cardiac arrest. It is said that his condition was due to an Epinephrine overdose. Kenneth Cutting was a patient who was being treat for sepsis in the ICU. There was a conversation with one of Gilbert’s co-workers where she asked if she would be able to leave early if he were to die because she had a date with Perrault later in the night. Roughly 40 minutes after she had this conversation cutting had a heart attack and died. His body was later exhumed for testing. The results showed that his cause of death was likely due to Epinephrine poisoning. Angelo Vella was a 65-yeal-old former Marine. Gilbert told him she was flushing his IV with a saline solution. He claimed that it burned him and soon after he went into cardiac arrest. He stabilized and was fine. Edward Skwira was admitted to the ICU in a stable condition. It was reported by Gilbert that Skwira had gone into cardiac arrest and died three days later. Gilbert’s last known victim, Francis Marier, was allegedly injected but survived (When Serial Killers Strike…). Her victims were all men who had no common illnesses. There was no connection to the men other than they were all under Gilbert’s care.
The reason that she killed is believed to be that she was a narcissist who needed attention (Poisonous Women…). She killed or injected her victims so that she could hopefully save them and with being the one to save them she got praise. She was called the Angel of Death because she was there to “save” the men she injected and look like the hero. She got attention for being able to save the men or at least be the first to respond to the code. She uses the attention she is getting to get the attention of her lover James Perrault. She continues to do this to her other victims. Eventually she is suspected of injecting the men and is under investigation for it. She leaves the hospital and loses that attention she was getting. It is believed that she has Munchausen Syndrome, which is a condition where a caregiver will harm someone who is under their care and come in and act like the hero for the attention and excitement that comes with it (Poisonous Women…). Perrault tries to leave her and she causes a scene and begins to call bomb threats into the hospital. After a search of her house investigators found a book called “The Handbook of Poisoning”. They also found another book “Intravenous Medications” with a missing a page. The page concerning information on Epinephrine had been torn out (Poisonous Women…). This shows that she was fully aware of what she was doing and knew what kind of attention she was going to get which only made her want to do it more.
With the makings of Munchausen Syndrome and the constant need to be the center of attention, Kristen Gilbert caught herself in a web of affairs, killing sprees, and eventually prison. She was a narcissist who needed the attention she got from “saving” her patients’ lives to have a happy and functioning life. Gilbert used her resources as a nurse to commit the ultimate crime. She was smart and used tactics that should have been enough to keep from getting caught but because she needed people to pay attention to her she got herself caught. She is the power and control type of serial killer. She likes having the fate of her patients in her hands and being able to pick and choose who lives and who dies.