Nurse kills 22 to avoid ‘nuisance’ families
A NURSE has been arrested after she allegedly told police she had deliberately organised for more than 20 elderly patients to die after her shift had ended.
Ayumi Kuboki, 31, allegedly told officers she had poisoned a number of patients at Japan's Oguchi Hospital in Yokohama over a two-month period in 2016.
According to Japanese media reports, the nurse allegedly made sure their deaths would occur only once she was off duty in a bid to avoid the responsibility of dealing with their grieving families - something she considered to be a burden.
The Asahi Shimbun and The Japan Times reported Ms Kuboki had been arrested on Saturday in relation to the death of 88-year-old patient Sozo Nishikawa, who had died on September 18, 2016 after antiseptic was added to his drip.
Nobuo Yamaki, 88, who shared a hospital room with Mr Nishikawa, also died two days later, and the alarm was raised after a different nurse saw bubbles in the man's IV, The Asahi Shimbun reported.
It was found to contain the disinfectant enzalkonium chloride, and a blood test revealed Mr Nishikawa also had the toxic cleaning agent in his system.
The nurse was finally arrested last weekend on suspicion of killing Mr Nishikawa, and police are now investigating a large number of other deaths that occurred during the same period.
According to several Japanese media reports, Ms Kuboki confessed to killing the two men before later admitting she had also injected the chemical into the IV bags of at least 20 other patients.
The UK Telegraph explained that Ms Kuboki had injected the poison into the patients' drips close to the end of her shift so that they would die only once she was off duty, because she thought it was "troublesome" and a "nuisance" to inform families their loved one had died if they happened to survive until her next shift and then pass away.
"It would be a nuisance if that responsibility fell on me," the Asahi Shimbun reported her as saying.
Ms Kuboki has worked as a nurse since 2008 and she joined Oguchi Hospital in 2015.
According to the Asahi Shimbun, Ms Kuboki alleges she only targeted seriously ill patients who she believed were already going to die during her next shift - but police are questioning that claim, as a number of people who also died at the hospital in the same time frame had not been near death.
The Japan Times reported that around 48 patients had died at the hospital over several months in 2016.
But staff members told Asahi Shimbun there had been no reason to suspect their colleague.
"She was the kind of person who was hard to figure out what she was really thinking, but she was considered competent," one worker said.
According to the Asahi Shimbun, Ms Kuboki initially denied the killings, saying: "I have worked hard to help patients die in peace, so I was shocked by the incidents."