Essay Sample about Serial Killer Kristen Gilbert

Published: 2022-03-01
Essay Sample about Serial Killer Kristen Gilbert
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Law Criminal justice
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1248 words
11 min read

In the medical profession, it is a fundamental ethical requirement to uphold the dignity of care and ensure patients' safety remains a priority. However, as least expected, some occurrences violate this requirement where doctors and other medical practitioners carry out activities that harm the ones under their care. The case and subsequent conviction of Kristen Gilbert is an accurate illustration of such a scenario, where healthcare providers act irresponsibly and jeopardize the lives of those who trust their services. Apparently, it is a lesson on the need to be more vigilant when dispensing healthcare services as people can be prone to dangerous situations that can cause death unknowingly.

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Case Summary

In 1989, Kristen became one of the VAMC's staff in Northampton, and she even featured in the VA Practitioner magazine the following year. Due to her high specialty and trust that others had towards her, there was no expectation that she could endanger anyone's life whatsoever. Nonetheless, the number of deaths under her watch increased to the extent that her colleagues termed her as the "Angel of Death" (Ramsland, 2012). The concern became persistent, and in 1996, three nurses raised their fears due to suspicious rise in the number of cardiac arrest deaths as well as a decrease in epinephrine supply. Following an investigation that ensued, Kristen intercepted by giving a bomb threat in a way to derail the inquiry (Montaldo, 2017).

In the same year, Kristen left VAMC as many deaths occurred during her shifts, and in 1998, she stood trial and convicted for that heinous crime. Following the investigations, the findings proved that Kristen murdered four people and attempted other two by inducing cardiac arrests. In particular, she was knowingly injecting overdoses of epinephrine in the victims' intravenous therapy bags; epinephrine is an untraceable heart stimulant, and after it got hold of her target, Kristen would then resuscitate the patient as a response to the coded emergency (Gorlic, 2015). However, even if the ones identified are four, her colleagues claimed that there was a high probability that Kristen was part of more than 80 deaths as well as medical emergencies exceeding 300 (Donn, 2013).

Kristen's Background and Motivation

As the entire scenario reveals, the case involving Kristen Gilbert did not start after she joined VAMC. Apparently, her engagement in violent conduct, mischief, and assault had childhood connection since she had earlier assaulted people in Massachusetts an attempted murder previously (Montaldo, 2017). As a case example, she tried to poison a person in 1995, which illustrates that her problem had previous attachment and was only a continuation at the hospital. Therefore, if given a chance, she was ready to execute her mission irrespective of the victim and situation.

With her primary method of killing victims being inducement via cardiac arrest, Kristen's motivation is somewhat a compelling case. As the prosecutor affirmed during her sentence, the main reason why she did so was to create emergency situations so that her boyfriend, Perrault could respond. Thus, it was primarily an attention-seeking endeavor since the provisions required the presence of hospital police if there as a medical emergency (Donn, 2013). In fact, Perrault testified this destructive behavior such that Kristen even confessed of the murder she willingly committed; this confession took place after her hospitalization in a psychiatric ward (Gorlic, 2015).

From Kristen's story, it is evident that more of inner feelings motivated her to act in such a heinous way. As Dr. William Boutelle, Kristen's psychiatrist theorized, Kristen willingly created an emergency medical crisis so that she could get an opportunity to showcase her nursing proficiency (Ramsland, 2012). In this way, all that took place was artificial creations that intended to meet her inner driving forces. The only concern is that they were highly risky since they involved death occurrences despite Kristen achieving her objectives.

Related Theories

Many reasons motivate people to commit crimes, and the effects end up having far-reaching implications on the culprits. Among the many crime-related theories available in psychology, the most applicable in this scenario is the rational choice theory. As the theory asserts, people act in a particular way due to self-interest that often overrides other desires or essential ethical considerations such as protecting others' lives and upholding dignity. Apparently, the rational choice theory presumes that people commit a crime while understanding the potential risks (Burgess, 2017).

If one connects this assertion to Kristen's story, it is evident that there was no reward to come out of murder. As such, she did it while understanding the consequences that include conviction and life imprisonment. With self-interest being the core driving force, the primary desires that Kristen had overridden all other essential healthcare responsibilities. Evidently, the need to get the attention of her boyfriend was a too self-centered need, and it is impractical that she created medical emergencies just to achieve such an objective.

Apart from the rational choice theory, the other applicable preposition is the social disorganization theory. As a primary motivator of crime, this one affirms that one's physical and social environments are the leading stimulus for crime engagement. This way, every choice that a person makes depends on the features in the surrounding (Burgess, 2017). If one applies the same concept to Kristen's scenario, the environmental factors also had a role to play. Even if it is not all with a case to answer, the medical profession should not have admitted her since her history was dangerous as far as murder, assault, and lies are concerned. Indeed, the occupation only increased the risk due to more availability of the instruments that she needed to propel her atrocious activities.

Victims' Selection and Responsibility

An apparent case in Kristen's whole issue is that the victims were too innocent all the time. From the four murdered as well as the two noted as attempts, no one provoked Kristen. As such, they were not in any way responsible for their deaths. Another important note is that the selection was random; the only issue is that those who were too unfortunate coincided with the times that Kristen wanted so much to see her boyfriend and couldn't overcome the overdose as well.

Three-Part Typology

The best way to typify Kristen is as rational, local, and organized killer. Firstly, she is rational in the sense that she was sufficiently aware of the consequences of her actions. Secondly, the description as local is also judicious as she dealt with the homegrown population. Thirdly, she is an organized person since she uses modernized methods to induce victims as well as being sophisticated to disguise all that took place.

In summation, it is no doubt that Kristen Gilbert was a rational, local, organized killer. Seemingly, the entire tale is a lesson to both patients and healthcare providers on the need to be more vigilant in the duty of care. As manifested in the debacle, the consequences of healthcare providers' irresponsibility can be far-reaching and damage the reputation of many and the profession as well. Regarding that, it is also crucial for the departments and the entire profession to intensify measures that improve patients' safety, and one way is to ensure the workers are in the right state of mind while examining their activities, accusations, reports, and engagements in close succession.


Burgess, A. W. (2017). Victimology: Theories and applications. Jones & Bartlett Learning.Donn, J. (2013). Nurse On Trial For Patient Deaths. N.p.: ABC News.

Gorlic, A. (2015). Murderous Nurse Escapes Death Penalty. N.p.: ABC News.

Montaldo, C. (2017). Serial Killer Nurse Kristen Gilbert. N.p.: ThoughtCo.

Ramsland, K. (2012). Angles of Death: The Female Nurses. N.p.: truTV Crime Library.

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