Skip to main content

2 nurses in Uruguay charged in slayings of patients

From Marilia Brocchetto, CNN
updated 10:40 AM EDT, Tue March 20, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The two male nurses wanted to relieve patients' pain, an attorney says
  • They admitted to killing patients at Uruguayan hospitals, a judge says
  • A woman has been charged with being an accomplice in one of the killings
  • One patient died a day after his discharge order was signed, an official says

Lea este artículo en español/Read this article in Spanish

(CNN) -- Two male nurses face murder charges in Uruguay after reportedly admitting to killing at least 16 patients in two hospitals in the country's capital.

One of the men has been charged with five aggravated homicides, while the other has been charged with 11 aggravated homicides, Judge Rolando Vomero said in an interview Sunday with CNN affiliate Teledoce, noting that the two men appeared to have acted independently of each other.

Authorities are also charging a woman as being an accomplice in one of the killings, he said.

According to the authorities, the two male nurses, ages 39 and 46, both said they killed the patients because they did not want to see them suffer.

"My client is fully conscious of his actions. He fully confessed in front of the judge (and) prosecutor, and his defense is that he did it out of mercy," said attorney Ines Massiotti.

The nurses wanted to relieve patients' pain, attorney Santiago Clavijo said.

"It wasn't a vicious operation in the spirit of death," he told reporters.

But apparently not all those killed were terminally ill. One patient had their discharge order signed one day before his death, said Interior Minister Eduardo Bonomi.

The killings took place at the hospitals of Maciel and La Espanola in Montevideo. One of the men worked in the neurosurgery department at La Espanola; the other worked in that same department, as well as in the cardiology ward at Maciel.

The police had been investigating suspicious deaths of patients at the hospitals for weeks after a tip from a worker at Maciel.

A recent death prompted the police to accelerate proceedings and provided them with enough evidence to make the arrests, Bonomi said.

Authorities say they believe the nurses killed the patients either by administering a morphine overdose or by injecting air bubbles into their blood stream.

The government has set up an office to provide support to the families of the victims, said Health Minister Jorge Venegas.

CNN's Rafael Romo contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT