“The Angel of Death”: The True Story of Charles Cullen, the Nurse Who Inspired the Film

26 October Netflix premiere”angel of death“, the film based on the life and crimes of Charles Cullen, a nurse who killed dozens of patients in her care for more than a decade while working at various US hospitals between the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Based on the book of the same name by journalist Charles Graber and directed by Tobias Lindholm, the film focuses on the true story of a nurse. Amy Loughran (Jessica Chastain)Helped stop his colleague’s heinous actions Charles Cullen (Eddie Redmayne).

Eddie Redmayne in a scene from “The Angel of Death”.

What does the summary tell us?

Amy, a compassionate nurse and single mother with severe heart disease, reaches her physical and emotional limits because of the difficult and demanding night shifts of her job in intensive care. But soon she gets help from Charlie, a thoughtful and sympathetic nurse who joins her unit. After long nights in the hospital, the two develop a close friendship, and for the first time in years, Amy is confident in herself and her daughters’ future. However, an investigation begins after a series of mysterious patient deaths that point to Charlie as the prime suspect, forcing Amy to risk her life and the safety of her children in order to uncover the truth. goes.

Eddie Redmayne and Jessica Chastain, in a scene from "angel of death",
Eddie Redmayne and Jessica Chastain in a scene from “The Angel of Death.”

Who was Charles Cullen?

Charles Cullen was born in New Jersey in 1960 and was one of eight children. His father died before Cullen’s first birthday and it would have been a great blow to his life. A victim of bullying during his college days, Cullen made his first suicide attempt at the age of 9. Later, when he was a teenager, his mother died in a car accident where his sister was driving.

Charles Cullen, in prison.
Charles Cullen, in prison. , Photo: AP

After this new traumatic experience, Cullen dropped out of school and in 1978, he enlisted in the US Army, successfully passing psychological tests. After some time his mental instability came to the fore. After several suicide attempts, in March 1984, he was discharged due to psychological problems.

Three years later, in 1987, Cullen graduated from nursing school, married, and became a nurse. However, in 1993 he divorced his wife from whom he has two daughters.

Charlie Cullen, in prison.  Photo: Tony Kurdzuk/AP/
Charlie Cullen, in prison. Photo: Tony Kurdzuk/AP/

Cullen began working in various hospitals and nursing homes. She quit some jobs after an investigation into allegations of misconduct, because once an elderly woman complained that he came into her room and gave her injections when she was not his assigned nurse.

He was thrown out of the hospital for hiding heart medicine in a needle disposable container.

He bounced from various medical centers in New Jersey, and even worked briefly in Pennsylvania after receiving a license to practice there.

Charles Cullen.  Photo: Mike Derrer, Pool
Charles Cullen. Photo: Mike Derrer, Pool

Between 1998 and 2002, he did some agency work and some full-time jobs. It is believed that during this time he has killed more people.

His weapon of choice was a drug called digoxin, a drug commonly used to treat people with irregular heartbeats or heart failure, but which is fatal in large doses.

As of 2003, Florian Gall was under the care of Somerset Medical Center in Somerville, New Jersey. There, Florian Gall suffered a sudden heart attack and died despite previously showing signs of improvement. On investigation it was found that Gall had been given a lethal dose of digoxin.

Cullen met while working in this hospital amy laufrenWhich will be the key to putting an end to his crimes.

Amy Loughrane Juno and Jessica Chastain.
Amy Loughrane Juno and Jessica Chastain.

Beginning of the End

Nurse Loughran formed a close relationship with Cullen in the early 2000s while working the night shift together at Somerset Medical Center in New Jersey. Because of the condition of his heart.

The investigation began after several suspicious deaths at the hospital, with police asking Loughrane to help them. He provided them with evidence and was instrumental in extracting Cullen’s confession. However, admitting that a close friend could have committed such horrific crimes took a toll on him.

Mary Strenko next to a photo of her son Michael, the youngest victim of Charles Cullen: The nurse killed him with a super dose of norepinephrine (AP).
Mary Strenko next to a photo of her son Michael, the youngest victim of Charles Cullen: The nurse killed him with a super dose of norepinephrine (AP).

Loughren in better health after experimental heart surgery 18 years ago says: “I fought the guilt of missing him [a Cullen], I struggled with the guilt of not seeing that there was a monstrous dark side to this friendship as well.

,And I didn’t want to see it. I wanted to believe he was a kind killer so that I could continue to care about him. And he was not a kind killer. He was a cold blooded killer. I struggled so hard not to realize,

“I literally risked everything to make sure he was behind bars. I went every day and every day I pushed myself, no matter how sick I was. She was also a current mother and a good nurse. and now looking at her [a Jessica interpretarla]I think I can be proud of that character. It opened up space for me to say, ‘I did well.'”

“The Angel of Death” director Tobias Lindholm said he didn’t believe the story and it wasn’t until he met Amy that he realized how badly the system worked, the same one that inspired Cullen. Always allowed to get the job before was fired.

Jessica Chastain in a scene from "the good nurse" Photo: Cr.  Jojo Whilden / Netflix
Jessica Chastain in a scene from “The Good Nurse.” Photo: Cr. JoJo Whilden / Netflix

She was laid off from five nursing jobs and two others because of concerns about her practices. But, during a career spanning 16 years, he always found a new job. This is partly believed because hospitals did not express their suspicions about him for fear of being prosecuted.

“As a result of the Charles Cullen case, every time someone is reported, their record now has to be kept for seven years. The fact that this no longer happened … is astonishing,” Redmayne told BBC Mundo. said in the statements made.

american health system

The American healthcare system comes under scrutiny again in the film, showing the difficulties some people face in accessing affordable healthcare.

Loughren was too sick to work, but she couldn’t qualify for health insurance until she had worked in a hospital for a year, so she had to stay at work against medical advice.

In one scene, she is seen scrambling for enough money to pay about $1,000 for a heart check, eventually splitting it between two credit cards.

Noah Emmerich, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Jessica Chastain in a scene from "angel of death",
Noah Emmerich, Nnamdi Asomugha and Jessica Chastain in a scene from “The Angel of Death.”

The final word on the film’s legacy should probably fall to Loughran, now a proponent of alternative medicine.

,The platform I have right now is really about giving a voice to the victims… because that’s what everyone was saying [Cullen] He was a kind killer and they were going to die anyway. no they did not. Many of his victims were very small. Many of his victims were about to leave the hospital and he took away their opportunity. and their families deserve that voice,

Cullen was arrested in December 2003. He was arrested for first-degree murder and attempted murder, and the next day he shocked officers by revealing that there was more. He admitted to killing between 30 and 40 of his patients, but the number is believed to be closer to 400.

In 2006, Charles Cullen was convicted of 29 murders and received 11 life sentences. He agreed to work with investigators to identify all of his victims if they refrain from applying the death penalty.

Charles Cullen was arrested in 2003.  (image: AP)
Charles Cullen was arrested in 2003. (image: AP)

At this time, Charles Cullen is still in prison at the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton. The defendant previously stated that he only gave lethal drugs to “very sick” patients, so he believed he was putting an end to their pain. Speaking from prison in 2013, Charles said: “I thought people weren’t suffering anymore, so in a way, I thought I was helping. My goal here is not to justify. You know there is no justification for what I did. I guess all I can say is that I felt overwhelmed at the time,


“The Angel of Death” (The Good Nurse) esis available A documentary based on the story on Netflix from October 26, titled “Catching the Killer Nurse”Will also be available on the streaming platform from November 11.

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