[ISN] How a Serial-Killing Night Nurse Hacked Hospital Drug Protocol

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/04/charles-cullen-hospital-hack/ BY CHARLES GRAEBER Threat Level Wired.com 04.29.13 Nurses deal with drugs every day. Most do so professionally, safely, reliably. A very few abuse them, getting high or selling them for a profit, mostly opiates. And a tiny minority — a handful in the history of nursing — turn medicines into a murder weapon. One such nurse was Charles Cullen, who is the subject of my book The Good Nurse. A former Navy electronics technician who used his technical acumen to enable his crimes and avoid detection, Cullen got away with medical murder in at least nine hospitals over the course of his 16-year career. (He was finally arrested in 2003; he’s currently serving life in Trenton Maximum Security Prison.) He eventually admitted to 40 murders, but experts familiar with the case believe that number is low, perhaps by several hundred. If they’re right, Charles Cullen is the most prolific serial killer in American history. For a murderer, a hospital is a convenient place to work. Deaths occur there every day; people are sick and succumb to illness. It was difficult to sort out Cullen’s crimes from the usual stream of codes and crashes. But Cullen was especially good at what he did. And he was an expert at getting away with it. In essence, Cullen hacked the hospital systems that regulate medications. Part of his secret lay in the drugs he used. Many hospitals strictly regulate drugs like ketamine, OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, Darvocet, Demerol, morphine — anything that can get you high and everything addictive. But Charles Cullen avoided these drugs, and committed murder using medications normally employed to save lives. Drugs like digoxin, which is commonly used to help regulate heart rhythm, became a weapon in Cullen’s hands when employed in large enough doses and injected into a port on their IVs. It was especially lethal to patients with a history of heart problems. Insulin was another drug Cullen frequently used, sending patients into spiraling diabetic comas and generally stressing their already fragile systems. […] ______________________________________________ Visit the InfoSec News Security Bookstore Best Selling Security Books and More! http://www.shopinfosecnews.org