Two male nurses were indicted in Uruguay, charged with the death of sixteen patients in intensive care units of two hospitals of Montevideo; the alleged murderers said they killed the patients “because they did not want to see them suffer”.
The men, aged 49 and 36, have a long working history in health care and were deemed very experienced in their jobs. The cases were revealed after some deaths considered questionable prompted police surveillance over the men’s actions and communications.
Rolando Vomero, the judge handling the case said to local media: "I have ordered the prosecution of three people: one for five counts of especially aggravated, reiterated murder, another one for eleven offenses of reiterated murder, and a woman, a female nurse, as accomplice in a homicide."
The deaths occurred in the cardiac unit of Hospital Maciel, a health facility run by the Ministry of Public Health, Government of Uruguay. Hospital Maciel of Montevideo declares in its Mission Statement: “We have a team of qualified, committed, service oriented staff, in order to help improve the health condition of the recipients of our services.”
The second establishment where suspicious deaths occurred is the neuro-surgical Intensive Care Unit of the Spanish First Association of Mutual Aid, one of the most reputable private clinics in the country.
The two nurses admitted having caused the death of at least 16 people to whom they "provided medication so they could die"; however the defendants insist that the motive of their actions was "because they did not want to see people suffer." Investigations indicate that the deaths occurred over a period of about seven years. The judge has also instructed police to conduct further investigations over the cause of death of about 200 other patients at both hospitals.
Uruguay's Public Health Minister, Jorge Venegas, canceled a foreign trip and convened his cabinet to an emergency meeting on Sunday which lasted the whole day.