Germany: Police Arrest 72-Year-Old Woman for Allegedly Turning Off Hospital Roommate’s Ventilator

An OxyGEN ventilator, made on the re-purposed SEAT Leon automobile assembly line inside the Martorell plant of Seat SA, a unit of Volkswagen AG, is demonstrated on a medical mannequin in Barcelona, Spain, on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. There has been a critical shortage of supply globally for ventilators needed …
Angel Garcia/Bloomberg via Getty

Police arrested a 72-year-old woman in Germany this week for allegedly turning her roommate’s ventilator off on two separate occasions, allegedly because the life-saving machine annoyed her.

German prosecutors claim the 72-year-old woman switched off her 79-year-old roommate’s oxygen device before 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday because she felt annoyed by the machine’s noises, the Associated Press reported. Although hospital staff told the woman that her roommate’s machine was vital to her health, she allegedly ignored their warnings and turned it off again at around 9:00 p.m.

Patients who use a ventilator machine are weaned off “slowly” before they start breathing on their own again and are generally not taken off suddenly to avoid complications, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

After the 79-year-old’s machine was turned off a second time, she was in need of resuscitation, according to authorities. While the older patient is no longer in danger, she still requires intensive care, according to authorities.

The 72-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of attempted manslaughter and brought before a judge in Mannheim on Wednesday. She was later taken to a correctional facility.

Prosecutors and police say they are still investigating the incident.

The incident occurred at a hospital in Mannheim, located approximately 52 miles south of Frankfurt.

You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.


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