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Brazil doctor accused of murder probed over more deaths

A team is re-examining the 1,872 deaths that have happened in the last seven years in an intensive care unit run by a doctor charged with murder.

A BRAZILIAN DOCTOR charged with murdering seven hospital patients is now being investigated in connection with hundreds more similar cases of suspicious deaths.

A team led by health ministry investigator Mario Lobato is re-examining the 1,872 deaths that have happened over the past seven years in the intensive care unit led by 56-year-old Virginia Soares de Souza.

On Sunday, Lobato said in an interview with Globo television that 20 of these deaths at the Evangelical hospital in the southern city of Curitiba are now deemed suspicious and 300 more are under review.

De Souza’s lawyer accused Lobato of “trying to sensationalise with the number of deaths in an intensive care unit.”

“Does that mean that nobody died from causes resulting from their own condition?” he asked, in an interview with AFP. “That would be a unique case worldwide.”

De Souza was arrested in February and held for one month before being released on bail. She has denied all the charges against her.

“I was never negligent, careless. I was never blamed for ethical violations and I practiced medicine in a conscientious and correct manner,” she told Globo on Sunday.

Charged

Three doctors and two nurses from the same unit have also been charged with murder while a physiotherapist and a nurse face lesser charges.

According to the prosecution, several patients in the unit died from asphyxiation after being given muscle-relaxing medication and having their oxygen supply reduced.

The investigation began two years ago after former hospital employees and relatives of the patients reported allegedly suspicious deaths.

- © AFP, 2013

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