Documents: Texas nurse ‘intentionally’ introduced air into at least 7 patients’ arterial lines

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TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The arrest affidavit for William George Davis, the nurse arrested for the murder of Christopher Greenaway, sheds a chilling new light on Davis’ actions, alleging that he intentionally introduced air into patients’ arterial lines.

Those actions, according to the affidavit, caused Greenaway’s death, the death of another patient, and “permanent and debilitating” injuries to five others.

Joseph Kalina is in a persistent vegetative state. Pamela Henderson has limited mobility and vision.

The document relies on the testimony of police investigators, medical specialists, and employees of CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital and the Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital, both in Tyler,

It details the deaths of or injuries to seven patients, three named and four unnamed:

  • John Doe 1, a 61-year-old male, injured June 22, 2017;
  • John Doe 2, a 58-year-old male, injured July 14, 2017;
  • Christopher Greenaway, 47, who was injured on August 4, 2017, and died August 8, 2017;
  • John Doe 3, a 54-year-old male, injured August 7, 2017
  • John Doe 4, a 56-year-old male, injured October 26, 2017;
  • Pamela Henderson, 63, injured November 30, 2017;
  • Joseph Kalina, 58, injured January 25, 2018.

All were patients in the Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital on the campus of CHRISTUS Mother Frances in Tyler. All had undergone cardiovascular surgery, and all were recovering on a Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit “when they suddenly experienced a profound incident,” according to the affidavit.

The patients all suffered what the affidavit described as “unexplainable incidents resembling stroke-like symptoms.”

The “incidents” all occurred on the night shift and while Davis, a registered nurse on the CVICU, was working.

In February, hospital staff and counsel attended a meeting with police investigators. While hospital officials weren’t certain at the time that a crime had occurred, they were concerned enough about the “significance of the statistical ‘anomaly’ these incidents represented” to ask for an investigation, according to the affidavit.

Investigators acquired hospital security video footage pertaining to the seven incidents. In each instance, Davis can be seen entering the patient’s room and leaving . Almost immediately after his exit, the patient suffered a “profound incident” that led to his or her death or permanent injury, according to the arrest affidavit.

Each of the patients, prior to Davis’ actions, was “neurologically stable after surgery,” the document said. Afterward, each suffered “a profound medical/neurological emergency” that, to a doctor later consulted by investigators, indicated that “air was deliberately introduced into the arterial circulation using the patient’s arterial lines,” the affidavit said.

In March, investigators met with a forensic pathologist and a doctor in Dallas who is a board certified radiologist with additional qualifications in neuroradiology.

The forensic pathologist, after examining the case material, advised investigators that Christopher Greenaway died of “induced air embolism” and that “it is his opinion the manner of death is homicide.”

The pathologist, quoted in the affidavit, said:

The presence of an air embolus in the brain indicates a substantial amount of air entering the atrerial circulation from an external source. Such events are possible in cases of severe trauma in which an artery has become damaged and is exposed to air, in cases of decompression sickness (the bends) as seen in divers, or in cases of introduction of a bolus of air through an arterial catheter. Had the source of of the air embolism been venous, then the area affected would have been the pulmonary vasculature, not cerebral. In light of the findings that a number of patients suffered very similar injuries in the same hospital ward over a period of approximately seven months and that some of those patients have evidence of manipulation of their arterial line immediately preceding their own acute cerebral events, the logical conclusion is that the the underlying cause of the events is deliberate introduction of an air embolus into the patients’ arterial lines. In view of these findings, the cause of death of Christopher Greenway is cerebral ischemia due to an induced air embolus. The manner of death is homicide.

The Dallas neuroradiologist concluded:

Based upon my observations, I must conclude that these patients were intentionally injected with air through their radial arterial lines by nurse William Davis. I can find no other logical explanation for the events described above after reviewing the records and information available to me at the time of this report.

Davis was arrested Tuesday 

 in the lobby of the police department after he came by to pick up evidence that was to be released back to him.

He was taken into custody on a warrant out of the 114th District Court and is being held in the Smith County Jail on a $2,000,000 bond.

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