Brazil Doctor Killed Patients to Free Beds: Prosecutors
Virginia de Souza charged in 7 murders; hundreds more deaths being reviewed
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Mar 28, 2013 4:52 AM CDT
In this Feb. 19, 2013 photo, Virginia Soares de Souza, center, is escorted by police officers to a temporary prison in Curitiba, Parana state, Brazil.   (AP Photo/Henry Milleo, Gazeta do Povo, Agencia O Dia)

(Newser) – A Brazilian intensive care unit doctor has been charged in the murders of seven patients as a means to free up hospital beds—and now, investigators say she may have been involved in up to 300 deaths. Dr. Virginia Soares de Souza has so far been charged with seven counts of aggravated first degree murder; seven members of her team also face murder charges, Reuters reports. According to prosecutors, the health workers used muscle relaxants on patients before cutting their oxygen to asphyxiate them.

Investigators are currently reviewing some 1,700 medical records belonging to patients who've died in the past seven years. "We already have more than 20 cases established, and there are nearly 300 more that we are looking into," says the chief investigator. That figure would put de Souza among the deadliest known serial killers. The prosecutors point to wiretaps of de Souza's phone as evidence of her motive. "I want to clear the intensive care unit. It's making me itch," she says in a recording. "Unfortunately, our mission is to be go-betweens on the springboard to the next life." Her lawyer says she's not guilty and that investigators are confused about how the ICU functions.

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Showing 3 of 34 comments
Mar 29, 2013 10:05 AM CDT
Looks like doctor death has been dethroned from her godly position!
Mar 28, 2013 4:38 PM CDT
Here the good nuns ask the relatives if they will let their relatives die humanely.
Mar 28, 2013 4:26 PM CDT
I am not sure this doctor can be convicted of anything. First, realize that doctors and staff get jaded, and talk in jaded terms---it is just reality. Second, if the ICU was filled with people who were clearly in the process of dying---and the stages are physically clear for days---this could just be about taking people off life support---because there is really nothing more disgusting and gruesome as a body that is not allowed to die, when it clearly needs to. I know, I used to draw Arterial blood gases, and saw bodies that were rotting out from under the machines that kept the heart beating and the lungs full of air. It would bring me to tears. If she was legally taking people off of life support, the humane thing to do is give them a stiff dose of muscle relaxer---I'd take a bit of morpnine, also! Anyone with a shred of consciousness left will be deeply asleep and they will die faster.