A nurse in Japan told police that she sped up the deaths at least 20 patients to avoid having to tell families that their loved ones died while she was working, local media reported.
Ayumi Kuboki, 31, was arrested Saturday for the death of Sozo Nishikawa, 88, who was poisoned in 2016 with an antiseptic at Oguchi Hospital, The Asahi Shimbun and The Japan Times reported. According to the two Japanese news outlets, Kuboki told investigators that informing families of a patient's death was a burden, and a task reserved for the nurse on duty.
In order to avoid the responsibility, Kuboki said she targeted patients near death so that they would die at a time when another nurse would have to tell the family, The Asahi Shimbun and The Japan Times reported.
The Asahi Shimbun reported that police believe Kuboki may have targeted patients who were not near death, too.
Nishikawa died on Septemeber 18, 2016, from what doctors initially ruled as natural causes. Two days later, his hospital roommate Nobuo Yamaki, 88, also died.
According to The Asahi Shimbun, another nurse noticed bubbles in Yamaki's intravenous drip bag. An autopsy found high levels of an benzalkonium chloride, a disinfectant, in his body, the Japanese news outlet reported.
Police then began investigating Nishikawa's death, who they then determined died of poisoning from the same antiseptic. At least two other patients were found with benzalkonium chloride in their bodies around the time of their death, The Asahi Shimbun reported.