Japanese nurse 'poisoned 20 patients so they died when she was off-duty'

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 12, 2018

A Japanese nurse admitted to killing at least 20 elderly patients and said she planned their deaths to occur when she was off-shift - because she didn't want to be bothered explaining their demise to relatives during working hours.

Kuboki now claims she'd only targeted patients who were "gravely ill" because she'd feared they would die during her shift, leaving her to deal with the families.

The 31-year-old, who worked at Oguchi Hospital in Yokohama, was busted Saturday on suspicion of murdering 88-year-old Sozo Nishikawa in September 2016.

Nishikawa died at the hospital on September 18, 2016, while another patient, Nobuo Yamaki, also 88, passed away two days later.

Some 48 patients died at the hospital from "unusual circumstances" during a three-month span in 2016, including five people in one day.

The suspect has told police she mixed disinfectant into the intravenous drips of around 20 patients, Jiji Press reported, citing an unnamed police source.

Kuboki told investigators she may have killed another 20 patients in the same way.

Police ruled that his death, along with Nishikawa's, were due to poisoning.

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.

Kuboki quit the hospital before she was questioned over the deaths in June, before her arrest on July 7.

Staffers told Asahi Shimbun there were no red flags.

Another said: "She was the kind of person who was hard to figure out ... but she was considered competent". They declined to confirm the broader investigation.

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.

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. As numerous bodies were cremated before tests could be done, Kuboki may have killed far more people than she admits.

Kuboki's former co-workers said they were shocked to hear about the nurse's arrest.

In December, she eerily told Asahi Shimbun: "I have worked hard to help patients die in peace, so I was shocked by the incidents".

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