Nurse accused of killing 20 elderly patients

A Japanese nurse was accused of tampering with intravenous drip bags at the hospital she worked

She allegedly targeted patients who were close to death by tampering with their intravenous drips so another nurse on duty would have to inform the person's family of their death.

Kuboki reportedly denied any specific grudge against her patients, but said she found it hard to deal with deaths on her shift, and injecting the drips allowed her to control when her patients died.

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

She'd timed it so her victims died when she wasn't at work - because she dreaded having to deal with grieving family members.

An autopsy was then carried out on another 88-year-old patient, Sozo Nishikawa, who had shared a room with Yamaki.

"It would be troublesome if that responsibility fell on me", Kuboki said.

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.

Security cameras caught a former nurse, under arrest on suspicion of fatally poisoning a patient at a hospital here, walking inside the institution while carrying unnecessary drugs during a night shift after the incident, investigative sources said.

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Nishikawa's health declined shortly after and he died at 7 p.m.

Antiseptic was then discovered in the bodies of two further patients, an 89-year-old man and a 78-year-old woman who have not been named.

Staffers told Asahi Shimbun there were no red flags.

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.

Investigators found tiny punctures in the rubber seals of the bags, indicating that the antiseptic had been injected into them.

When they examined all of the nurses' uniforms, they found the chemicals around a pocket on Kuboki's uniform.

Ms Kuboki became a nurse in 2008 and joined Oguchi Hospital in 2015 after working at another healthcare facility elsewhere in Japan. At least 48 patients died at the hospital in suspicious circumstances over a three-month period in 2016, Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported.

Doctors said Nishikawa died of natural causes, but Kuboki would later admit to injecting Nishikawa's intravenous drip bag with a disinfectant, The Guardian reported.

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