TIME Japan

Serial Killer Suspected at a Japanese Hospital as Two Men Poisoned From Hospital Drips

The deaths follow a string of disturbing incidents recently reported at the hospital

Police in Japan are investigating the possibility of a “serial poisoner” at one hospital who they believe had been injecting toxic disinfectants into intravenous drip bags, resulting in the deaths of two elderly patients.

Police said Thursday they believe the killings are likely to have been perpetrated by an insider with medical knowledge, after ten unused drip bags were discovered to have small holes punched into the rubber seals, reports the Kyodo news agency. The holes are signs that someone may have attempted to inject substances into the drip bags, the report suggests; police are analyzing the content of the bags.

The tampered bags were found on the fourth floor of Oguchi Hospital in the southern city of Yokohama, the same floor where the two poisoned patients had been receiving treatment. The two patients, both aged 88, died on Sept. 18 and 20 respectively, after receiving intravenous drips. Investigators found the men had been poisoned with surfactants — chemicals commonly used as disinfectants in hospitals.

The deaths follow a string of disturbing incidents at Oguchi Hospital over the summer, according to Kyodo. Since July, the hospital reportedly recorded 46 more deaths of patients on the same floor as the two deceased men. Hospital staff reportedly said no outbreaks of infection could account for the deaths. One reason offered was that the hospital was accepting more seriously ill patients than usual. An investigation into the deaths is underway. Kyodo also reported that a nurse’s apron had been slashed in July, and in August, another staff member’s lips blistered after consuming a drink that may have been tainted with bleach.


Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team