An 55-year-old Italian nurse has reportedly been arrested on suspicion of killing at least 13 patients by administering fatal doses of a blood-thinning drug while they were in intensive care unit over the past one year.
She had been working in the anesthesia and intensive care unit for over a decade.
Fausta Bonino is accused of killing the patients aged between 61 and 88 over the course of 2014 and 2015 at a hospital in the Tuscan town of Piombino. She dropped the drug into victims’ intravenous drips. Out of the 13, 12 died of internal bleeding and one of heart attack.
All the victims were found to have 10 times the normal dose of the drug Heparin in their bloodstream even though they had not been prescribed it. The drug; Heparin is used to prevent blood clotting.
The suspect was the only member of hospital staff working when all 13 of the suspicious deaths occurred, Carabinieri police commander Gennero Riccardi told reporters on Thursday.
All the victims were seriously but not terminally ill. The unit’s death rate raised from 12 percent to 20 percent when she was the in charge at the intensive care unit.
Police are said to have monitored the suspect for several months and after reviewing, she has come out as the first suspect owing to the fact that when she was transferred from the Intensive care unit, the mortality rate of the ward fell. Moreover, she was the only common in-charge in all the murder cases involved.
No specific motive is known up-till now but apparently the accused has been undergoing treatment for psychological problems from past many years and suffers from depression.
Italy’s NAS police unit, which specializes in health and drugs has detained the woman on suspicious charges.
Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin called the case “chilling, hideous,” in a statement in which she said: “It isn’t the first time that nurses have been found to be serial killers.”
The victims were mainly elderly people with a variety of illnesses.