Retired nurse accused of killing ailing husband in hospital

A retired nurse is facing a second-degree murder charge after authorities in Florida say she suffocated her husband in his hospital bed when he suffered life-threatening complications and became unresponsive following surgery.

A judge on Tuesday set bond for Jan Sochalski, 61, of Palm Coast , at $250,000.  She was arrested on Monday.

Police started investigating when Henry Sochalski, 64,  died at Florida Hospital in Daytona Beach on May 10.

Police say Henry Sochalski was in the hospital for elective back surgery, but then he had a medical episode, causing him to go on life support.  Police say during his last few weeks, hospital staff said Jan Sochalski was acting oddly.

Police say she disconnected her husband's oxygen tube, and laid on top of him.  Police say she also pushed his pain medication button 260 times in eight hours; however, the machine is set up to prevent an overdose.

The day Henry Sochalski died, police say Jan Sochalski was alone in the room with him.   On May 19, a nurse told investigators she walked into the man's room and found his wife lying across his chest. According to the police report, the nurse said the woman had one hand around her husband's chest and the other across his mouth and nose. A second nurse in the room said it appeared she was "pinching the victim's nose."

The medical examiner found evidence Henry Sochalski’s airways had been blocked, and this week, ruled the death a homicide which was likely caused by smothering.

Jan Scholaski has denied killing her husband.  Her lawyer says they will fight the second-degree murder charges.


Some information taken from the Associated Press.