Rio de Janeiro: Brazilian doctor suspected of killing seven patients to free up
hospital beds in southern Brazil is under investigation for the
murder of some 300 others, investigators said.
A team, led by health ministry investigator Mario Lobato, is
investigating the 1,872 deaths in the last seven years at the
intensive care unit headed by Virginia Soares de Souza in
Evangelico Hospital in Curitiba, a city in the southern state of
Parana, reported Xinhua.
Soares and her medical team administered muscle relaxants to
patients in the unit and reduced their oxygen supply, causing
asphyxiation, according to state prosecutors.
Prosecutors said it was through telephone tapping that they found
out Soares had killed the patients to free up beds in the unit.
The 56-year-old widow was arrested in February, along with three
other doctors, three nurses and a physiotherapist, and charged
with seven murders.
"I want to clear out the intensive care unit," Soares said in one
recorded phone call, adding "unfortunately our mission is to be
the go-betweens on the springboard to the next life".
On Sunday, Lobato told Brazil's Globo television that 20 deaths
there were deemed suspicious, and another 300 were under review,
with all sharing the same signs of muscle relaxants and lack of
If prosecutors prove Soares killed 300 patients, it would mark one
of the worst cases of serial murder in the world. She denied the
charges when she was arrested.
"I was never negligent, careless. I was never blamed for ethical
violations. I practice medicine in a conscientious and correct
way," she told Globo Saturday.
Last week, a judge in Curitiba ordered the release of Soares and
her team on bail, but prosecutors want her back in custody, saying
she was the ringleader and some witnesses have reported being
A spokesman at Brazil's health ministry said the government will
soon announce measures to reorganize the hospital.