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Doctor admits trying to murder dialysis patient ‘on impulse’

Kyodo

A doctor has admitted trying to kill a dialysis patient by removing a tube and causing the man to bleed out, police said Friday.

Internist Kenjiro Hashizume of Machida, western Tokyo, told investigators he went to his clinic and picked a victim at random after suddenly getting an urge to kill someone, officers at Machida Police Station said.

Hashizume, 49, was arrested Thursday for allegedly removing a tube that controlled the blood flow of a patient undergoing dialysis the previous day. He appeared before the Tokyo Public Prosecutor’s Office on Friday.

A specialist in internal medicine, Hashizume is director of the Akebono No. 2 Clinic, which specializes in kidney conditions.

Police quoted him saying he felt a sudden urge to kill when calling at a convenience store on his way home from work at 7 p.m. Wednesday. He returned to the clinic at around 8:20 p.m.

The 50-year-old victim realized he had been disconnected from the dialyzer when he saw blood spurting from a tube, police said. Hashizume then drove to Machida Police Station and turned himself in.

The victim is described as being in a stable condition.

Police suspect the physician may be mentally ill. Hashizume said he has been telling his family about problems at work and other worries for years, adding that he tried to kill himself a few days before the incident, the police said.

“I tried to commit suicide but I failed,” they quoted him as saying. “I wanted to kill someone, then get caught by police and be put to death.”

They added Hashizume reported having trouble sleeping and concentrating at work for about six months.

During questioning, the police said Hashizume told them he picked the victim “because he happened to be near the entrance” of the dialysis room. About 10 patients were undergoing treatment at the time and were under the care of clinic staff on shift at that time.Toshiaki Nango, director of the Sanyukai group, which runs Akebono No. 2, apologized for what happened. The company also runs two other clinics and Akebono Hospital in Machida.

A similar event at the same clinic resulted in the death of a woman in June 2010, investigators said. The patient died of severe bleeding after a tube was disconnected.

Hashizume was the doctor who confirmed the woman’s death, but investigators concluded that one of the nurses, not Hashizume, was responsible and filed a case with prosecutors on charges of professional negligence resulting in death.

Patients and neighbors expressed shock at the arrest of a man they had considered mild-mannered.

“He looked really gentle and didn’t seem to be capable of doing such a horrible thing,” said a man in his 70s living near the clinic.

Fujiko Kinoshita, 72, a Machida resident received dialysis treatment under Hashizume’s care, gave a similar impression. “He was very polite and always kind when he responded to my questions,” Kinoshita said.