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Killer nurse

  The incident took place at Sendai's Hokuryo Clinic in Miyagi Prefecture on October 31 last year. (2001) The breathing of a six grade girl (11), hospitalised for suspected appendicitis, suddenly changed after she was given a drip.

Her life was saved by emergency treatment but the girl now suffers from hypoxic brain damage, and still lies unconscious.

Dr. Ikuko Handa, vice director of the hospital, and the doctor taking care of the girl, told authorities that a vocational nurse, Daisuke Mori, was responsible for endangering the girl's life.

Miyagi Prefecture Police arrested Mori on January 6. The lethal weapon, it is thought, was a muscle relaxant Mori added to the drip.

This drug is usually used during general anaesthesia operations, but can also be used to euthanise animals. It can also stop a human's heart.

Shockingly, this is not the only incident at Hokuryo Clinic. There have been scores of instances in Hokuryo Clinic where the
conditions of patients suddenly changed, all of them reportedly after Mori administered drips.

In fact, Mori's ill-luck' administering drips had earned him the nickname "switcheroo Mori."

But until the October incident no one had really questioned Mori's actions. Before then, older patients administered drips by Mori had died, but it didn't appear unnatural for people in their 80s and 90s to suddenly die.

One of the police investigating the incident reports, "though he does not speak of his motive, Mori did say that he had no personal resentment toward the victims."

If that is the case then this is indiscriminate murder. And, a medical institution left a killer on the loose. In a place where they were supposed to save people's lives!

Mori is the son of a police officer. He studied physical education at a prefectural high school.

"He did quite well in sprinting during junior high, and we had high expectations for him," says his high school teacher. But he failed to prove himself. He injured his ligament and had to have two operations in his freshman year. He was a very serious, hardworking, and patient sportsman.

Other teachers also share this opinion. "Many athletes would go wild when they collapse, but he was different. He stayed calm and continued his training."

But he was not an outstanding student anyway. 

"He didn't group with others or have any great friends. No hobbies or girlfriends. A bit odd, perhaps," says one mate.

He lost all contact with his track and field colleagues after graduation. However, there is an interesting story of Mori talking about his insane actions.

"There was a single close friend from his high school days and Mori suddenly visited him last December, just before his arrest. They met after so many years and he mentioned having a girlfriend. Then, he started talking about the incident."

Mori worked at five hospitals during the 10 years after his graduation. He was a hardworking junior nurse, with ambitions for promotion. He was also known to complain about his pay.

"Hokuryo Clinic pays better than other hospitals. He was paid well, and payment doesn't seem to be the prime motive," an
investigator reveals.

His life was actually not bad. He was living with this girlfriend A, a fellow nurse. A was born in 1963, 8 years his senior. She was divorced in February 2000, after she met Mori in 1999. The two started a new life in a new apartment from April.

By September, the time when A would be allowed to legally remarry, many of Mori's patients started having troubles.

Was there some conflict with A that led him to this mischief? As of present, there is no proof that A played any part in the incidents.

However, the problem is not only Mori's insanity. Hokuryo Clinic should also be blamed for mishandling a dangerous situation.

A husband of a nurse in Hokuryo Clinic notes "The nickname 'switcheroo Mori' was well known six months ago." So people in the Clinic already had grounds for suspicion, but no investigation was conducted until last December, allowing Mori to freely kill patients.

With this incident and the many medical malpractices revealed around the nation, isn't it chilling to realise Japan's medical institutions are in the verge of breakdown?

January 26 2001, Vol 33 No 4

Kaiser Papers

caregivers that kill