Thursday, July 19, 2007

Nurse Convicted of Horrific Murder Gets Life Sentence: My Thoughts

Rebecca Santana of the AP reports that a nurse convicted of murdering her husband, dismembering his body, stuffing the parts into designer luggage and tossing them into the sea has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

According to Santana, "...prosecutors argued that [Melanie McGuire] organized her husband's murder using her expertise as a nurse to drug him, shoot him and cut him up."

The motive was as repulsive as the crime. Melanie McGuire was not a battered woman trying to escape a brutal relationship; she killed and mutilated her husband so that she could continue an extramarital affair with her boss. It is no small irony that McGuire was a nurse at a fertility clinic. It seems that her regard for human life was not as profound as one would imagine.

Because I am a nurse who takes particular care in establishing and maintaining a relationship with my patients founded on trust, it sickens and angers me when I read stories like this.

To be sure, no profession is immune from the element of human depravity, since professionals are human beings. But certain professions carry with them much higher expectations of fidelity, beneficence and non-malfeasance (i.e., nurses, doctors, counselors, social workers, special advocates, clergy, firefighters, policemen, etc.). So when someone in my profession commits a crime as heinous as this, the public also becomes the victim to a certain extent because nurses are no longer above murder. This is especially true when a nurse murders a patient, such as happened only a few months ago when an ICU nurse murdered multiple patients over a span of time.

Nursing is at the top of the list of the most trusted professions in America. In view of the high degree of trust that the public places in nurses, I personally think that any nurse who has been convicted by a jury of his or her peers for committing premeditated murder- particularly murders so vile as the examples presented here- should be sentenced to death.