Tuesday 11 December 2018

Nurse is suspect for up to 20 deaths in Japan

Since her arrest, Ms Kuboki has admitted to police that she killed the two men as well as
Since her arrest, Ms Kuboki has admitted to police that she killed the two men as well as "about 20 other patients", the 'Asahi Shimbun' newspaper reported. (Stock picture)

Julian Ryall

A nurse suspected of killing at least 20 elderly patients in a hospital in Japan has told investigators she added disinfectant to their intravenous drips shortly before finishing her shifts because it was "a nuisance" to explain to relations when a person had died during her working hours.

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 is also being questioned over the death of Nobuo Yamaki, also 88, two days later.

Since her arrest, Ms Kuboki has admitted to police that she killed the two men as well as "about 20 other patients", the 'Asahi Shimbun' newspaper reported.

Contaminated

Police believe that she deliberately contaminated the patients' intravenous drips with a disinfectant containing benzalkonium chloride, killing the first two victims in a matter of just hours.

Ms Kuboki reportedly told police that she wanted to make sure that the patients died when she was not on duty so she would not have to explain the circumstances of their deaths to their grieving families.

"It would be a nuisance if that responsibility fell on me," she said.

Doctors had initially believed Mr Nishikawa and Mr Yamaki had died of natural causes, although autopsies discovered the presence of the disinfectant in their bodies.

Subsequent investigations also found the cleaning agent in the bodies of an 89-year-old man and a woman aged 78 who had died around the same time.

The deaths also coincided with a series of incidents that police suspected had been carried out by a member of the hospital's staff, but were unable to prove.

A number of nurses' uniforms were ripped, drinks had been tampered with and rubber seals on 10 drips had been punctured with a syringe.

Ms Kuboki became a nurse in 2008 and joined Oguchi Hospital in 2015 after working at another healthcare facility elsewhere in Japan. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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