• Kyodo

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Twenty patients at a Sendai clinic died or fell into critical condition at the hands of a 29-year-old male nurse arrested on suspicion of attempting to kill an 11-year-old girl, police sources said Wednesday.

Ten of the 20 died, another seven to eight remain in serious or critical condition, while the remaining patients have recovered. All had been given drugs intravenously, without authorization, by nurse Daisuke Mori, the sources alleged.

The same day, police said that blood samples from three patients who received intravenous drips from Mori during the roughly one-month period since the incident with the 11-year-old girl also showed traces of drugs such as muscle relaxants.

Police have been analyzing a blood sample taken from one of the deceased to see what drug Mori may have used, with an eye to serving him with a fresh arrest warrant on suspicion of murder.

Mori, who worked as a licensed practical nurse at Hokuryo Clinic for 22 months until Dec. 4, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of attempting to kill the girl Oct. 31 by intravenously administering a muscle relaxant to her at the clinic.

The muscle relaxant vecuronium bromide was detected in the blood of the girl, who remains in a coma. The drug, an overdose of which can be fatal, is only supposed to be administered under the supervision of a doctor.

Mori admitted trying to kill the girl and also confessed to administering the relaxant to other patients. He is also being probed in the death last September of a kindergarten boy, who died after receiving an injection from him.

Among the 10 dead are five elderly women who died shortly after entering the clinic from a nearby nursing home, the sources said. Doctors at the clinic cited heart attacks, strokes and pneumonia as the causes of the women’s deaths.

Sources at the nursing home said Wednesday that one of the five, a 90-year-old woman, died in November. She was admitted to the clinic Nov. 15 for a fever and died Nov. 24 from a heart attack.

An 85-year-old woman who was admitted July 15, 1999, for edema and lack of appetite died the following day from heart failure.

An 88-year-old woman entered the hospital Nov. 16, 1999, and died two weeks later. An 89-year-old woman admitted last Feb. 16 died the same day, and a 94-year-old woman, also admitted Feb. 16, died three days later.

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