Tötungshandlungen in Einrichtungen des Gesundheitswesens

Killings in Health-Care Facilities


Wolfgang Stenzel (HWK)


Prof. Dr. Detlef Garz, Universität Kiel


  • Dr. Ursula Blömer, Universität Oldenburg (bis Frühjahr 2022)
  • Dr. Hans Böhmann, vormals Klinik für Kinder- und Jugendmedizin, Josef-Hospital Delmenhorst
  • Dr. Carsten Detka, Universität Magdeburg
  • Dr. Manuel Franzmann, Universität Kiel
  • Dr. Britt Hoffmann, Universität Magdeburg (bis Frühjahr 2022)
  • Prof. Dr. phil. habil. Klaus Kraimer, Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft des Saarlandes (HTW)
  • Prof. Dr. Ulrich Oevermann, Universität Frankfurt
  • Prof. Dr. rer. pol. habil. Gerhard Riemann, Technische Hochschule Nürnberg
  • Dr. Marianne Rychner, Hochschule Luzern
  • Prof. Dr. Fritz Schütze, Universität Magdeburg
  • Dr. Anja Wildhagen, Universität Magdeburg (bis Frühjahr 2022)
  • Prof. Dr. Sylke Bartmann, Hochschule Emden/Leer


November 2017 - September 2023


In recent years the topic of killings in clinics and nursing homes has attracted a lot of attention in German media and has alarmed the public. One case is in the focus of public interest due to the extreme number of crimes which had been committed: killings in two clinics in Northern Germany for which a male nurse is responsible who has been imprisoned for life. There have been a number of journalistic inquiries, psychiatric assessments, public statements of victims’ relatives and of associations and a final report of a special committee of the state parliament. The discussion about what has happened and which consequences should be drawn continues.

The interest of the Study Group is a social scientific one: Simply put, it tries to reconstruct comprehensively and microanalytically how the things which happened could happen. It is easily understandable that the public debate has become so bitter. But against this backdrop the members of the Study Group find it necessary to engage in careful qualitative data collections (with a special focus on the experiences and perspectives of professional practitioners) in order to arrive at their own conclusions about the development of the case which are not influenced by hasty assignments of blame. The data will be analysed with recourse to different procedures of reconstructive social research which have been developed and used by members of the study groups in the last decades. They will direct their attention to biographical processes, features of the practice of physicians and nurses, specific practical circumstances in intensive care units and the different structural conditions which clinics have to face. How is it possible to reconstruct the interplay of these processes and conditions?

How is it possible to understand the complexity of the drastic breakdown of professional structures of action on an intensive care unit and the risk potential of this specific field of action of physicians and nurses? The work of the study group is based on the assumption that a reconstructive analysis of the specificities of this case will uncover general features at the same time.

In analysing the qualitative data, the Study Group will use procedures of Objective Hermeneutics as well as the sociolinguistic analysis of social processes (as they have been developed in the analysis of narrative interviews and other materials). Members of the Study Group have been very much involved in the development of sociological theories of professionalization and theories of professional action. The group is also interested in doing this particular empirical study in order to discover and explicate what these theories have in common and how they differ. 

The Study Group plans a publication of the results of this study.