DALLAS — A former nurse who was fired last month from a Texas hospital has been charged with murder in the death of a patient last year and will likely face additional charges for hurting other patients in six other cases, police announced Wednesday.
William George Davis was being held on a $2 million bond after he was arrested Tuesday evening in the August death of 47-year-old Christopher Greenaway. Police say aggravated assault charges could also be filed against Davis.
At a news conference, Tyler police chief Jimmy Toler declined to offer details on what authorities allege Davis did to Greenaway or other patients at Christus Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler or if he targeted any of the individuals.
Tyler police spokeswoman Jenny Wells later said that there are "not any indications" that this could be a case of assisted suicide.
Online court and jail records didn't list an attorney for Davis, 34. The office of Taralynn Mackay, a lawyer who had represented Davis earlier this year, said she's no longer representing him.
A GoFundMe account started by Davis says he's raising money in an effort to fight the state's suspension of his license, an action that he contends was due to "misunderstandings." The campaign on Wednesday had raised more than half of his goal of $10,000.
The seven cases connected to Davis date back to June 2017 and all took place at the hospital where he worked, Toler said.
Davis was not being cooperative with investigators and did not have a criminal record, Toler said. An initial court appearance for Davis was not immediately set.
Greenaway was described in his obituary as a pilot and a decorated veteran. He was born in Columbia, South Carolina, and had worked as a pilot for medical transport. He had served in the U.S. Army and had received several awards.
The hospital approached authorities in January "with concerns that a nurse may have been involved in causing harm to patients," Toler said. "These patients were experiencing unexplained symptoms inconsistent with their treatment and recovery."
In an order issued last month that suspended Davis' license, The Texas Board of Nursing said the ex-nurse entered three patients' rooms at the Owen Heart Hospital, part of Christus Mother Frances Hospital, and "performed an intervention" that either killed or critically harmed them. The hospital fired Davis in February.
The suspension order doesn't specify what Davis is alleged to have done to a patient on Aug. 4, but says "the patient immediately deteriorated from their stable condition" and died two days later of an embolism and other complications. The patient was not under Davis' care and he didn't mention to the patient's assigned nurse that he intervened or document it, according to the order.
He's accused of going into other patients' rooms, once in November and again in January, and taking "unnecessary and/or inappropriate" actions that led two patients to fall into vegetative conditions. He wasn't assigned to care for either patient.
When questioned by administrators following the January incident, Davis said he "silenced an IV that was beeping," pumped up a pressure bag and took other actions, according to his suspension order.
A spokesman for the Board of Nursing said he couldn't immediately discuss the ongoing Davis investigation.
Christus Trinity Mother Frances Health System, which includes Owen Heart Hospital about 100 miles (160 kilometers) southeast of Dallas, said in a statement that Davis began working for the system in 2013. Toler said that prior to coming to Christus, Davis had worked at another hospital for two years. Toler didn't offer any information on where that hospital was located.
An investigation began in January when administrators identified "an unusual and unexplained patient outcome."
"We believe the issues with Mr. Davis were isolated to him and he acted independently and of his own accord," the statement said.
In an email, hospital system spokesman William Knous declined to comment on how hospital officials or authorities linked Davis to the patient death and injuries. He also declined to comment on whether Davis had done anything else during his employment that had previously raised concerns or how many patient interactions involving Davis the hospital system might be reviewing.
This story has been corrected to show that the murder victim was 47 years old and not 48 years old at the time of his death.
Lozano reported from Houston.