Netflix’s The Good Nurse tells the true story of a nurse named Charles Cullen who was eventually found guilty of killing dozens of patients in his care—though he’s suspected of murdering far, much more. Within the film, Eddie Redmayne plays Cullen and co-stars with Jessica Chastain, who portrays a fellow nurse at Somerset Medical Center named Amy Loughren. Cullen and Loughren were working together when he was finally arrested, because she helped gather evidence against him.
But before the arrest, they really shared an actual friendship, working late nights within the intensive care unit together, a dynamic The Good Nurse tries to portray. Here’s Charles Cullen’s true story.
Where is Charles Cullen from?
The serial killer was born right into a family of eight children in West Orange, Recent Jersey in 1960, in line with Sky News. His father Edmund died when before he turned one, and his mother, Florence, died in a automotive accident when he was a senior in highschool. He enlisted within the U.S. Navy afterwards, per The Recent York Times.
He reportedly attempted suicide multiple times throughout his life, including during his time within the Navy, where he didn’t quite slot in. In 1987, Cullen got his nursing degree, got married, and commenced his first nursing job. He and his wife had two daughters before divorcing in 1993.
When did Charles Cullen start killing his patients?
Cullen was arrested for his crimes in 2003 but was estimated to have been actively killing people for as much as 16 years beforehand. He was reported for suspicious activity by among the places he worked for, but he avoided detection by moving from facility to facility in Recent Jersey and Pennsylvania.
In a single example, Cullen left a job after an elderly patient reported that he was not the nurse assigned to her, but entered her room to offer her an injection. Cullen was said to have passed a lie detector test, but it surely turned out to be inconclusive, and the case was ultimately dropped, in line with the Times. One other time, Cullen was fired for hiding heart medicine in a container meant for needle disposal.
The number of individuals he killed increased as time went on, which is what finally brought things to a head. At Somerset, he killed 13 patients in lower than a 12 months. He began working there in 2002 and was caught in mid-2003.
How did he kill his patients?
For essentially the most part, Cullen injected his victims with digoxin, a medicine that might help people affected by irregular heart beats or heart failure, but a high dose is lethal. Nevertheless, he sometimes would just add a lethal dose of insulin to their saline pouches.
How was Charles Cullen caught?
Again, people had been suspicious of Cullen for some time, but his co-worker Amy Loughren was the one who really moved the case. She was approached by two investigators following the death of reverend named Florian Gall, who died of a large heart attack at Somerset after showing clear signs of improvement. The autopsy revealed the lethal level of digoxin in his system.
Loughren was in a position to indicate all of the medication that Cullen was ordering and using through the hospital records. She decided to wear a wire to get a confession out of Cullen, inviting him to fulfill her in a restaurant. The evidence she gathered led to a probable cause arrest and he fully confessed to 40 murders, though it’s suspected he killed as much as 400.
Cullen agreed to work with investigators in the event that they would refrain from going for the death penalty. He stated that he desired to put “very sick” patients out of their misery, but lots of his victims weren’t terminal. He was sentenced to 11 consecutive life sentences, after which received six more life terms specifically for the murders he committed in Pennsylvania.
What did Amy Loughren consider Eddie Redmayne in The Good Nurse?
In an interview with Sky News, Loughren said, “It was triggering watching Charlie [played by Redmayne] because Eddie truly embodies who my friend Charlie was. The way in which that he moves, the best way that he speaks, the interactions that we’ve, are so real. That a part of it was extremely triggering.”
She added, “And allowing myself to grasp that I missed him for some time—and my guilt about actually missing my friendship, because he’s a monster. But I didn’t know the murderer. I only met the murderer a few times and he played this a part of my friend. I missed that friendship, so it was very triggering. After which it was like, ‘Let’s get him.’”
Aimée Lutkin is the weekend editor at ELLE.com. Her writing has appeared in Jezebel, Glamour, Marie Claire and more. Her first book, The Lonely Hunter, can be released by Dial Press in February 2022.