Italian police are investigating whether a hospital nurse could have killed up to 38 patients after she was accused of injecting one with a fatal dose of potassium.
Daniela Poggiali was arrested by officers in Lugo, northern Italy, after the unexpected death of a 78-year-old patient who was admitted with a routine illness.
Today they revealed they had widened their inquiry to include 38 deaths, including ten which have been described as ‘very suspicious’.
One report by the Central European news agency said she was accused of giving her patients high doses of potassium because she found them or their families annoying.
A staff member said Poggiali asked to have her photo taken next to a patient who had just died, according to several reports including in the Italian newspaper Libero Quotidiano.
Another reportedly accused the 42-year-old nurse of ‘joking’ about giving a high dose of potassium to a seriously ill patient.
The inquiry was triggered by the death in April of 78-year-old Rosa Calderoni.
Tests indicated the pensioner had unusual amounts of potassium chloride in her bloodstream – high doses of which can trigger cardiac arrest. It is used as part of the death penalty in the U.S.
But prosecutors admit there are ‘insurmountable difficulties’ with their investigation because potassium fades from the bloodstream within a few days, making it hard to detect.
Chief prosecutor Alessandro Mancini told a press conference reported by Italian newspaper Il Resto Del Carlino: ‘There are the other 38 cases of suspicious deaths and of these, ten are very suspicious.
‘Investigations are continuing, but there are insurmountable difficulties’ He added Poggiali was ‘unperturbed’ when she was arrested in the last few days.
In local reports, one nurse who worked with Poggiali described her as a ‘cold person but always eager to work’.
Another claimed Poggiali, who is being held on a murder charge, had once given powerful laxatives to patients towards the end of her shift to ’embarrass’ colleagues working on the shift after her.
Source: Billion Bill Blog
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