The Angel of Death

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While working at Cambridge Hospital as a nurse trainee, Jane Toppan impressed her co-workers with her friendly demeanour and cheerful disposition. This caused them to nickname her “Jolly Jane.” However, behind the scenes, Toppan enjoyed torturing her patients by switching their medications to opioids and experimented on them with morphine and atropine.

The Angel of Death

Some Nurses Shouldn’t be Trusted… The Stout Brunnet was no Florence Nightingale.

Female serial killers are relatively rare, but often more fascinating than male killers. Jane Toppan, known as an Angel of Death, is one of those killers.The conviction and confession of  trained nurse, Jane Toppan, in Massachusetts, adds another to the notable cases of human crime. In fact, it stands alone in some respects; there is no closely parallel case. This woman, who seems to have had the confidence of both physicians and patients during her career, enumerates thirty-one individuals whom she has poisoned while under her professional care, and mentions still others in whom her attempt was unsuccessful. That this woman should have passed for a model nurse, showing most, if not all, the good qualities of such a functionary, apparently loyal and reliable, and kind and attentive to those whose murder she was plotting, seems incomprehensible, but it is psychologically possible, as everyone with extended experience with morbid mentality can testify. Homicidal impulses can exist with the most perfect apparent amiability, though this case is unique in some of its features.

Jolly Jane Toppan was never going to have a perfect life. Surrendered to a Boston orphanage and hired out to a foster family by the age of six, she was doomed to, at best, a life of servitude. But no one could have anticipated the dark places her life would lead.

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