After the Netflix movie, “The Good Nurse” came out, the murders that nurse Charles Cullen committed came to light for many people who were not aware of the murders. Charles Cullen (played by Eddie Redmayne) murdered many patients at various hospitals on the east coast. Jessica Chastain played the character of nurse Amy Loughren who helped to capture Charles Cullen and put him in prison. She worked closely with Charles Cullen but at the time she did not know that deaths in the hospital were attributable to him.
The families whose loved ones were murdered by Charles Cullen will never forget. He killed patients in the hospital who would have made a full recovery. One of those patients was Michael Strenko. He was only 21 years old. Michael was in the hospital for a blood disease called Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia. He had a successful spleen operation and he was recovering. The outlook was great. But Charles Cullen, the nurse came into Michael’s room and gave him a lethal injection of norepinephrine. Michael passed away.
That was in 2003. Since that time, families of murdered loved ones have helped change the laws. Charles Cullen worked at many different hospitals and got away with murder. New laws were passed in response. The Health Care Professional Responsibility and Reporting Enhancement Act was signed into law in May 2005, and it requires healthcare professionals or entities to notify the division when they have information regarding the incompetence, impairment, or negligence of a healthcare worker who could endanger patients. It also mandates criminal background checks of healthcare professionals seeking licensure in New Jersey. The law was intended to prevent another case like that of Cullen, who kept getting hired at different hospitals during his 16-year career, despite a questionable employment record. There have been mixed feelings about the laws that were passed as is common when laws change.
The victims of the crimes must never be forgotten. There were many victims and each family suffered immensely as did friends and community members. Michael Strenko’s family still has a beautiful tribute to him and a link to the Autoimmune Association. It provides public awareness, education, research, and advocacy for autoimmune disorders. In memory of Michael Strenko, the website address is https://autoimmune.org
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