A Nightmare Nurse

Veronica Hamel in Deadly Medicine (1991)

Paediatrician Kathleen Holland (Veronica Hamel) decides to strike out on her own, setting up her paediatrics office in a small town in Texas. With her she brings Nurse Genene Jones (Susan Ruttan) who was working at the same hospital as her. But not long after setting up her practice she finds herself under intense questioning and lawsuits when a young child dies in suspicious circumstances with it looking like she may have been injected with a powerful drug. Fighting for everything she has worked for Kathleen must find some way to prove that it was Genene who was responsible for the death.

It's over 25 years since "Deadly Medicine" was made and I am sure there would be many who might stumble across this now and be unaware that it is an adaptation of the book of the same name which is all about real serial killer Genene Jones. Although having said that anyone who starts to watch "Deadly Medicine" might quickly guess that it is based on a true story as it has that feel about it with lots of detail delivered in an entertaining but informative manner.

As such "Deadly Medicine" is not a complicated movie as it focuses on Kathleen after the death of a child in her practice. We watch as how suspicion falls on her from the authorities, locals start making life difficult for her, doctors turn on her, and when Kathleen confronts Genene she also turns nasty. As such we watch as things get so tough for Kathleen that long with her husband they fear losing everything if she is sued. But of course things turn around because as I said it is based on a true story and that leads to a pretty dramatic scene where Genene is arrested. But there is nothing complicated about this and director Richard A. Colla keeps it all simple and very direct.

Beyond that you have to say that Veronica Hamel brings her own appeal to the role of Kathleen making it easy to sympathise with her. At the same time Susan Ruttan does a nice job of playing Genene in a two faced manner which makes it easy to dislike her which in this sort of movie is very important.

What this all boils down to is that "Deadly Medicine" is an engrossing but routine made for TV movie from back in the early 90s. That makes it effective in telling the story but not overly sensational when it comes to the drama of the story.

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