Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Nurse May Have Killed Dozens With Poisoned Drips

Nurse May Have Killed Dozens With Poisoned Drips

A Japanese nurse who may have killed dozens of elderly patients wanted to ensure that her terminally ill victims died anytime but on her watch, due to the "nuisance" of facing relatives with tragic news, Japanese media reported.

In order to avoid the responsibility, Kuboki said she targeted patients near death so that they would die at a time when another nurse would have to tell the family, The Asahi Shimbun and The Japan Times reported.

Ayumi Kuboki, 31, has been arrested on suspicion of killing Sozo Nishikawa, 88, at Oguchi Hospital, in the city of Yokohama, south-west of Tokyo, in September 2016. She also admitted poisoning 88-year-old Nobuo Yamaki, who was being treated in the same room as Nishikawa.

Police believe the cold-hearted caregiver put cleaning product containing benzalkonium chloride into patients' IVs - which left Yamaki and Nishikawa dead within hours.

"I hated to be suddenly summoned or forced to suspend my work when a patient died", she was quoted by the investigative sources as telling police during questioning.

Police found the same solution in the bodies of two other senior patients, an 89-year-old man and 78-year-old woman, who died around the same time as the two men. At first, Kuboki denied all involvement, even expressing her sympathy for the families of the deceased and saying she noticed nothing suspicious around the hospital.

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Former colleagues told Asahi Shimbun they had no idea Kuboki could have been behind the string of deaths.

A series of disturbing incidents were then reported on the fourth floor where she worked in 2016, where nurses' uniforms were ripped and drinks were spiked with a foreign substance.

"She was the kind of person who was hard to figure out what she was really thinking, but she was considered competent", a worker said.

Police began investigating following Nishikawa and Yamaki's deaths and found 10 unused antiseptic-laced IV bags with tiny holes in the rubber seal - indicating they were punctured with a syringe.

When police investigators checked all uniforms worn by nurses in charge of the patients on the fourth floor, they found the antiseptic on only one uniform - that worn by Kuboki - around the pocket.

About 48 patients at the hospital died in unusual circumstances over a three-month period in 2016, including five in a single day. As numerous bodies were cremated before tests could be done, Kuboki may have killed far more people than she admits.

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