Japanese nurse poisons 20 patients

Some 48 patients died at the Oguchi Hospital from “unusual circumstances” in a three-month time span in 2016

Kuboki told police that she hastened the patients' deaths so that they died on another nurse's shift and she didn't have to break the news to their families, newspaper Asahi Shimbun reports.

Ayumi Kuboki (31), a former nurse at Oguchi Hospital in Yokohama, Japan, has been charged with the murder of two elderly patients, Sozo Nishikawa (88) and Nobuo Yamaki (88), in September 2016.

She claimed she only targeted seriously ill patients who she believed were going to die on her shift, but sources said some of the victims were not in serious condition when they died.

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

Kuboki initially denied any involvement in the deaths, telling media that she was shocked and felt sorry for the victims and their families.

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

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

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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.

In their investigation police found 10 more antiseptic-contaminated IV bags with needle holes in the rubber seals among the 50 bags stored near the nurse's station on the floor where Nishikawa died - the floor where Kuboki worked as a nurse.

An employee who had worked with Kuboki at a different hospital said: "She was the kind of person who was hard to figure out ... but she was considered competent".

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

But between April and August 2016, the fourth floor was plagued by a series of unsettling problems - including ripped nurses' uniforms and drinks that were found spiked with unknown substances.

The Asahi Shimbun also reported she had admitted injecting the drips of around 20 patients with disinfectant. Police zeroed in on Kuboki after analyzing hospital worker uniforms, finding that only hers carried traces of the chemical. Kuboki reportedly confessed to murdering at least 20 other patients out of the 48 that passed away between July and September 2016. The newspaper quoted Kuboki's mother, who said her daughter was scared of working in the hospital at night and wanted to leave her job.

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