• Kyodo

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Police sent their case to prosecutors earlier this year on a doctor they suspect committed murder by removing the respirator of an 88-year-old woman who was brain dead, police sources revealed Tuesday.

The police believe the doctor, a man in his 50s who at the time was working at Wakayama Medical University’s Kihoku Hospital in Katsuragi, Wakayama Prefecture, and was also an assistant professor there, performed an emergency operation on the woman when she was admitted with bleeding in the brain on Feb. 27, 2006.

The woman’s brain stopped functioning after the operation.

She died after the doctor removed the respirator, reportedly at the insistence of her family, the sources said.

Kihoku Hospital reported the incident to the police that March, according to the sources.

The police sent their report on the case to the Wakayama District Public Prosecutor’s Office this last January after they concluded that the doctor had terminated life-sustaining treatment by removing the respirator, the sources said.

In March 2006, a doctor at a hospital in Imizu, Toyama Prefecture, was reported to have removed respirators from seven terminal patients between 2000 and 2005. Police are still investigating that case.

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