One of the most shocking and insidious cases in the history of medicine: the crimes of one nurse were hidden by a hospital for years…
It’s 1980, and Genene Jones is working the 3 to 11 PM shift in the pediatric ICU in San Antonio's county hospital. As the weeks go by, infants under her care begin experiencing unexpected complications—and dying—in alarming numbers, prompting rumors that there is a murderer among the staff. Her eight-hour shift would come to be called “the death shift.” This strange epidemic would continue unabated for more than a year, before Jones is quietly sent off—with a good recommendation—to a rural pediatric clinic. There, eight children under her care mysteriously stopped breathing—and a 15-month-old baby girl died.
In May 1984, Jones was finally arrested, leading to a trial that revealed not only her deeply disturbed mind and a willingness to kill, but a desire to play ‘God’ with the lives of the children under her care. More shocking still, it was discovered that the hospital had shredded records and remained silent about Jones’ horrific deeds, obscuring the full extent of her spree and prompting grieving parents to ask: Why?
Elkind chronicles Jones' rampage, her trials, and the chilling aftermath of one of the most horrific crimes in America, and turns his piercing gaze onto those responsible for its cover-up. It is a tale with special relevance today, as prosecutors, distraught parents, and victims' advocates struggle to keep Jones behind bars, despite her scheduled mandatory release from a Texas prison in early 2018.
“Intriguing...A horrifying true-life medical thriller...” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
“Gripping...A remarkable journalistic achievement!”—NEWSWEEK
“Murder, madness, and medicine...superb!”—LIBRARY JOURNAL
“Shocking...true crime reporting at its most compelling.”—BOOKLIST
The case of San Antonio nurse Genene Jones, convicted in 1984 of murdering children in her care, and now suspected of having killed as many as 16 infants, made national headlines. A horrifying true-life medical thriller, this report by an editor of Texas Monthly is written in an understated style that adds to its impact. Despite her dismissal from a hospital post, weird medical obsessions, a history of lying and major on-the-job errors, Jones breezed from one nursing job to the next. The case has intriguing elements--a young, ambitious prosecuting D.A.; a naive, supportive close associate of the accused serial killer; a public hospital administration that suspected criminal wrongdoing but failed to notify the police and was later accused of cover-up. Elkind, who spares no one, notes with dismay that Jones could be eligible for parole as early as next year. Photos. 25,000 first printing; author tour.