German Woman Arrested After Switching off Fellow Patient's Ventilator Because the Sound Annoyed Her

A 72-year-old woman in Germany has been arrested after she allegedly twice switched off a hospital roommate's ventilator because she was annoyed by the sound it made.

The woman was detained on suspicion of attempted manslaughter after the incident in the south-western city of Mannheim on Tuesday evening.

Woman Felt Disturbed by the Noise Coming from the Oxygen Device

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Police and prosecutors said the suspect was alleged to have switched off a woman's ventilator and then, despite staff telling her the machine was vital for the patient, switched it off again later in the evening.

A joint press release published by the Mannheim public prosecutor's office and Mannheim police alleged the woman switched off the ventilator before 8pm after she "felt disturbed by the noise coming from the oxygen device."

"Although the suspect was informed by the hospital staff that the oxygen supply was a vital measure, she is said to have switched off the device again around 9pm," the statement read.

The 79-year-old patient had to be revived, authorities said, and while her life was not in danger, she still required intensive care. The suspect was brought before a judge on Wednesday and taken to jail. Investigations are still ongoing.

What Does a Ventilator Do?

A ventilator uses life-saving technology that helps people with severe respiratory conditions that impact the lungs. For patients unable to breathe on their own, ventilators, also called "respirators" can provide life-sustaining oxygen. A breathing tube is attached to the ventilator and through it air and oxygen is pushed in and out of the patient's lungs. The machine helps a patient get the oxygen they need for their organs to function.

In June, a 40-year-old man in India died after his family members unplugged the ventilator he was on to plug in an air cooler because it was very hot.