Genene Jones was merely a LVN (Licensed Vocational
Nurse) at the Bexar County Hospital in San Antonio; however she seemed to
possess more experience and knowledge than any RN (Registered Nurse). That was
one of the reasons why the nursing supervisors and some doctors were impressed
with her; so much so that she sometimes ran the PICU (Pediatric ICU), instead
of a more senior and qualified nursing personnel.
A couple of nurses, Pat Alberti and her good
friend found it terribly suspicious that too many children were dying or dead
on Genene’ s shift. They checked the
PICU statistic log and presented their findings to the head nurse, Pat Belko and her supervisor, Judy Harris. Belko however attributed this to back-stabbing
and gossips, and warned the nurses against spreading rumours. No action was taken so Pat Alberti went one level higher and
reported her suspicions to the unit director, Dr James Robotham, who was
troubled enough to inform his superior, Dr Robert Franks. Dr Robotham was instructed to investigate
further and continue monitoring the matter.
Having completed his investigation, Dr Robotham submitted his findings
to Dr Franks, who concluded that there was no possible nursing misadventure in
any of the deaths. . However the PICU
continued to suffer from an apparent ‘epidemic’ of fatalities - in the span of
two weeks, there were seven deaths. To
his credit, Dr Robotham tried to remove the nurse whom he suspected of being
the source of the problems; however this effort was thwarted by the nursing
unit. A meeting was called, involving
the heads of the hospital, medical school, PICU and the nursing unit. They decided on hiring a group of external
medical experts to conduct a further investigation. One of their recommendations was to remove
both Pat Alberti and Genene Jones.
Genene Jones left the Bexar County Hospital with a favorable
recommendation, and was later employed by Dr Kathy Holland, who had opened a
pediatric clinic in Kerrville, Texas. Within the short period of two months, Dr
Holland’s clinic had rushed seven children to the Sid Peterson hospital, all suffering
from seizures. All survived, except for
and a little girl, Chelsea McCellan, who had died on the way to the
hospital. The doctors at Sid Peterson
noticed the number of respiratory or cardiac arrests from the clinic. One of
the doctors had noticed that one of the little patients seemed to be resisting
the effects of a drug called succinylcholine, rather than recovering from a
seizure. A bottle of succinylcholine had
been reported missing a few weeks ago by Genene Jones, and was later found to
have puncture marks in its rubber top.
Dr Holland was getting suspicious; after this discovery, she fired
Genene and reported the incidents.
Two grand juries were convened in Kerr County and San Antonio to look into the baby deaths.
The Kerr County grand jury indicted
Genene Jones for murder and injury, followed by the San Antonio grand jury on charges of
injuring a four-week old boy. There
were two separate trials; in Kerr County the jury found her guilty and had
wanted to give her beyond the maximum, to keep her away from society for as
long as possible - 199, 299 or even 499 years.
In Bexar County, Jones was also found
guilty and the two sentences combined to a total of 159 years. Unfortunately she would be eligible for
automatic parole in 2017.
Genene Jones had not only injured and murdered
children who were too young to complain or retaliate; she had also ruined the
reputation of a conscientious doctor. Dr
Holland did the one thing that the authorities at the Bexar County Hospital had not dared or were too
unethical to do – Dr Holland had reported her suspicions. I had felt that the insensitive hospital
authorities at the Bexar County Hospital, especially the nursing and the
medical hospital heads, should be held responsible - even though they were aware of the
incidences, they had preferred to stay silent.
They took the coward’s way out – fire both Genene Jones and the
whistleblower. The nursing heads were
the worst – they attributed the complaints to ‘gossips’ and ‘back-stabbing’ and
did not investigate further into the allegations, all because Genene Jones
happened to be the ‘pet’ of Pat Belko, the head nurse. These were the ones who had allowed a killer
to roam free to pursue her deadly hobby of injecting helpless kids with deadly
Deadly Medicine is a very spell-binding account of
the appalling crimes of Genene Jones.
The book reflected the depth of the research the authors had conducted
in writing the book. Once started, you
would find difficulty in putting the book down.
Though there was a lot of medical and legal terms, the book is well
organized, interspersed with interesting interviews with key people involved in
one way or other in the crimes or trial of Jones. A compelling book about a baby-killer nurse
and the questionable ethics and insensitiveness of a health-care institution.