A Brazilian doctor is being accused of killing terminally ill patients in order to free up hospital beds.
The Daily Mail reports that Virginia Soares de Souza was arrested last month after officials became suspicious as to why so many patients were dying under her watch at the Hospital Evangelico in Curitiba, Brazil.
The doctor was accused of killing 7 patients at first, but that number has soared since her arrest. Authorities now believe that De Souza killed at least 20 patients. Investigators are also looking into another 300 other suspicious deaths at the hospital.
According to the Mirror, De Souza is accused of killing terminally ill patients with fatal doses of muscle relaxers. She also may have pulled the plug on patient’s life support machines.
Investigator Dr Mario Lobato said: “We are looking at nearly 300 cases. In one a patient asked a nurse for a cup of water, yet by the time she returned he had died.”
Lobato said that most of the patients died shortly after being treated by De Souza. In most cases, patients had their oxygen levels reduced from 45 percent to 21 percent and were given a muscle relaxant called Pavulon.
Lobato said: “All of (deaths) have the same modus operando, the same relationship between the drug and death, and the same time between both.”
Three other nurses and doctors have been arrested for allegedly helping De Souza kill patients at the hospital. De Souza’s lawyer said that her client is innocent and will prove it in court.
If De Souza is convicted of killing more than 300 people at the hospital, she will take the title of world’s deadliest doctor from Britain’s Harold Shipman. Shipman killed at least 215 patients over the span of 25 years. He later hung himself in prison at the age of 57.