V. was arrested in April at his home in Veenhuizen after confessing to deliberately cutting short the lives of his patients at Assen’s Wilhelmina Hospital (WZA) while he was being treated at a mental health clinic.
The OM Public Prosecution Service said at the time he had indicated “several times” in his conversations with mental health staff that “as a pulmonary nurse in the WZA, he had prematurely ended the lives of 20 patients during the coronavirus pandemic.”
During the hearing, however, he denied this, according to his lawyer Tjalling van der Goot.
The OM asked the judges to extend V.’s detention for another sixty days. However the council chamber of the Northern Netherlands District Court found the evidence was ‘not strong enough’ to bring charges against the suspect and keep him in pre-trial custody.
Theodoor V., 31, was hired by the WZA as a pulmonary nurse just a few months before the pandemic began. The incidents, which the OM has been investigating, are believed to have happened between March 2020 and May 2022.
The prosecutors declined to provide details about the number of patients involved, but a relative of a patient was told by police that at least 24 deaths are considered to be suspicious. All were being treated for COVID-19.
V. allegedly performed medical procedures on patients who, he believed, were terminal and suffering without instructions from a doctor.
The OM said his statements were taken so seriously by the mental clinic’s staff that, after extensive consultation with colleagues and obtaining legal advice, they decided to break the confidentiality obligation and file a report with the WZA.
Prior to his recruitment by the Assen hospital, V. worked for a year at Groningen’s Martini Hospital and before that at the University Medical Center Groningen. He also completed an internship at Rotes Kreuz Krankenhaus in Bremen, which reportedly launched its own investigation into his time in Germany.