Japanese nurse may have killed 20 patients

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

"Explaining to family members about deaths was cumbersome if a patient died during my working hours", she told investigators, Jiji said.

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.

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

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.

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.

Doctors found a high concentration of an antiseptic solution in Yamaki's bloodstream and determined that he had died from poisoning.

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Several days after security cameras were installed at the hospital following the deaths of Nishikawa and Yamaki, the cameras caught Kuboki walking in the hospital while carrying a box containing insulin, a drug used to decrease blood glucose levels of patients with diabetes.

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. They declined to confirm the broader investigation.

Kuboki was registered as a nurse in 2008 and worked at another hospital before joining Oguchi.

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.

However, police have cast doubt on those claims, saying some of the patients who died during that period were not terminally ill. Forty-eight deaths occurred between July and September 2016, including five on a single day in August and four on one day in September, according to the Japan Times. As numerous bodies were cremated before tests could be done, Kuboki may have killed far more people than she admits. She added that she had not noticed anything unusual during her shifts at the hospital.

Colleagues who'd been working with Kuboki since 2015, when she started at the hospital, expressed shock when they heard of the alleged murders. She has not yet entered a plea.

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