Woman didn’t like noise of patient’s ventilator ‘so she turned it off twice’

Hospital patient switched off another person on ward's ventilator
Hospital patient switched off another person on ward’s ventilator (Picture: Getty)

An elderly woman has been arrested in a German hospital after turning off another patient’s ventilator twice.

The unnamed 72-year-old was arrested on suspicion of attempted manslaughter in Mannheim on Tuesday evening.

It is believed that she didn’t like the sound of the ventilator hooked up to a 79-year-old woman.

After the first time, hospital staff told her it was vital for the patient but she went ahead and switched it off again later in the evening.

The older patient had to be revived and, while her life is not in danger, still requires intensive care, authorities said.

The suspect was brought before a judge on Wednesday and taken to jail.

A joint press release from the Mannheim police and public prosecutor’s office said the woman switched off the ventilator at an unspecified time before 8pm after becoming ‘disturbed by the noise coming from the oxygen device’.

Despite being informed by the hospital staff that the oxygen supply was a vital measure, she is said to have ignored their warnings and switched the device off again at around 9pm.

Following the incident, the suspect was issued with an arrest warrant and brought before a judge at the district court in Mannheim on Wednesday, where she was taken to jail.

Investigations are ongoing.

Ventilation is a life-saving technology used to support people with severe respiratory conditions that impact the lungs, including Covid and pneumonia.

When a person seems ready to come off a mechanical ventilator, doctors first have to ensure the person can breathe independently. 

This is done via weaning, which involves gradually removing ventilator support until the patient is able to breathe on their own.

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