More details have emerged indicating that the two nurses who killed at least 16 patients in Uruguayan hospitals weren’t carrying out euthanasia and many of their victims weren’t in a terminal condition when they died.
According to the Uruguayan ministry of health, five of the 16 known victims were in a cardiac unit while the rest were in the neurosurgery ward. “None of the units are intensive care,” the health minister, Jorge Venegas, confirmed.
One of the men in question is 40-year-old Marcelo Pereira who worked between Maciel, a public hospital and the Asociación Española clinic, one of the country’s most prestigious health centres. He killed 5 patients, injecting them with morphine; apparently none of them were in terminal conditions.
The other is 46-year-old Ariel Acevedo, who also worked in the Asociación Española clinic. He has admitted to killing 11 people by administering oxygen into their veins.
Investigators are looking into the possibility that a third man was involved.
Authorities are now looking into the causes of death of more patients. At least 16 people died at the hands of the nurses but they believe the real total to be much higher.
The percentage of fatalities among patients in the cardiac care units in Maciel tripled in 2011 compared the previous year; 12% up from 4%.
The theory that the nurses were acting benevolently is being seriously undermined by, among others, the story of one woman who, according to Uruguayan authorities, was close to being released when she died. Santa Lemos was 74 and she was admitted to hospital for a routine procedure.
Her daughter, Gladys Rodríguez Lemos spoke to Argentine radio station, MDZ radio and explained her case “My mum was admitted for a convulsion as she was diabetic,” she said. “She was about to be discharged, she was ready to come home and then it all started and she started foaming at the mouth. They treated her there and she died. She was not terminal.”
“I Thought I was God”
Acevedo’s lawyer, Inés Massiotti released a statement via the Uruguayan paper El Pais saying that the nurse, “has confessed saying that after twenty years of working with the stress of being in between life and death, he couldn’t take it any more.”
Massiotti, a close friend of her client, told El Pais about a revealing encounter which encouraged her to take up her friend’s defence. Questioning him about the deaths she revealed: “I told him, ‘you thought you were God’ he admitted everything and asked for forgiveness. ‘Yes, I thought I was God.’”
“We can presume that what started as euthanasia, killing in order to help the victim’s pain became distorted and changed into killing for pleasure. They are now using euthanasia as a justification for what they did.” Laura Quiñones, an Argentine criminologist told BBC Mundo. “These people have psychopathic profiles, whose main personality traits are marked by insensitivity, manipulation, superficiality and selfishness. They thought they were omnipotent and this overtook their original motives.”