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Brazilian doc 'killed' 7 patients to free beds

Brasilia, Mar 28, 2013, Reuters: 0:37 IST
A Brazilian doctor who was charged with killing seven patients to free up beds at a hospital intensive care unit may have been responsible for as many as 300 deaths, according to a Health Ministry investigator.

Prosecutors said Dr Virginia Soares de Souza and her medical team administered muscle relaxing drugs to patients, then reduced their oxygen supply, causing them to die of asphyxia at the Evangelical Hospital in the southern city of Curitiba.

De Souza, a 56-year-old widow, was arrested last month and charged with seven counts of aggravated first degree murder. Three other doctors, three nurses and a physiotherapist who worked under De Souza have also been charged with murder.

Prosecutors for the state of Parana said wiretaps of De Souza's phone conversations revealed that her motive was to free up hospital beds for other patients.

“I want to clear the intensive care unit. It's making me itch,” she said in one recording released to Brazilian media. “Unfortunately, our mission is to be go-betweens on the springboard to the next life,” she added in the same phone call.

De Souza’s lawyer, Elias Mattar Assad, said investigators had misunderstood how an intensive care unit works and she would prove her innocence.

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