‘Exhausted’ Nurse Who Killed Patients With Poison in Their IV Drips Gets Life in Prison

The sentence concludes the nearly six-week trial of the former nurse, who previously said she was driven to kill her patients because of exhaustion.

Nov 10 2021, 7:29am

A former nurse who killed three of her patients by mixing detergent into their IV drips was sentenced to life imprisonment. 

The nearly six-week trial of Ayumi Kuboki concluded on Tuesday in a district court in the Japanese city of Yokohama. The 34-year-old had admitted to her crimes and said she was “mentally and physically exhausted” from the job.

The former nurse killed three patients—aged 78 to 88—at a long-term care hospital over the span of three days in 2016.


At the time of these killings, Kuboki’s case drew attention to the decreasing number of nurses in Japan, a country with a rapidly aging population. 

Presiding judge Kazunori Karei handed the former nurse a life sentence because she knowingly committed unlawful acts, but he stopped short of giving her the death penalty because she appeared to show remorse during the trial, Kyodo News reported. 

He also recognized that Kuboki was so stressed from her work as a nurse that “she thought she had no choice but to wipe out her patients to temporarily alleviate her anxiety,” Japanese broadcaster NHK reported.  

The judge found Kuboki to be fully responsible although she was deemed to have exhibited traits of autism spectrum disorder and depression. 

In Japan, murder is punishable with a minimum of five years to life imprisonment, or the death penalty. 

The country is one of the last remaining nations to conduct capital punishment, and executions can be carried out just hours after prisoners are notified, a practice labelled “inhumane” by prisoner rights groups and lawyers.

The Tuesday ruling did not satisfy some of the victims’ families.

“It’s strange that she wasn’t sentenced to death for killing innocent people while having such selfish motives,” the eldest son of Nobuo Yamaki, an 88-year-old patient Kuboki murdered, said through his lawyer, NHK reported.

Kuboki has not indicated whether she would appeal the court’s decision.

Follow Hanako Montgomery on Twitter and Instagram.


Crime, nurse, worldnews

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