Kristen Gilbert‘s marriage was stale. Her job as a nurse at the Veteran’s hospital in Northhampton, Massachusetts, was an escape and a place where she flourished – especially after she began an affair with James Perrault, a VA campus police officer.
Hospital policy required security personnel to be present at all medical emergencies, i.e. code blues, so looking back, it really comes as no surprise the number of personnel-assisted emergencies increased once Kristen and James became involved.
Initially co-workers laughed off the seemingly bad luck attached to Kristen and patients but, within a short time, several colleagues grew concerned and presented their concerns to hospital administrators. They, in turn, dismissed the suspicions of Kristen’s fellow nurses.
Eventually, however, the number of deaths couldn’t be overlooked and family members of patients would demand answers about the death of their loved ones. When all was said and done, Kristen Gilbert would be considered in more than eighty deaths, divorced and without her children, dumped by her lover, and facing a federal death penalty.
The story this heartless killer nurse as told by M. William Phelps in Perfect Poison, is something that hits so close to home. Is there one of us that has not placed our care into the hands of someone who we trusted would ensure our safety and well-being, such as a nurse or doctor?
This was the case of many VAMC patients, and their families, who thought they were being treated for their (sometimes minor) ailments but instead died of sudden cardiac arrest as a result of epinephrine posioning. And Gilbert was not discriminate in her victims as they ranged from their thirties to those well into their golden years.
The most fascinating aspect of this book is to see the clear evidence of psychosis in this young lady and to ponder how she was able to hide her insanity for thirty plus years.
Unfortunately, I found the third portion of the book became a bit redundant with the information regarding her trial. However, there were still many aspects of the trial that were newly presented and attention catching.
Just as I have recommended Phelps’ other books, I highly recommend this one too!