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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

(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.

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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. (Read more Brazil stories.)

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