Her alleged reason: She found them or their relatives annoying.
The 42-year-old Daniela Poggiali – who is a caregiver in the town of Lugo – was arrested over the weekend after a patient she was tending to died, and an abnormally high level of potassium chloride was detected in her system.
The late patient, Rosa Calderoni, had been admitted to the hospital for a routine procedure, and hence the suspicion of foul play was raised. Post-mortem tests revealed that the cardiac arrest that killed her was triggered by heightened level of potassium in her bloodstream.
Poggiali was identified as the nurse caring for the deceased patient. Further investigations revealed that as many as 38 patients had died from similar causes while being cared for by Poggiali.
It was also found, according to Libero Quotidiano, that Poggiali once took a selfie of herself while standing next to a patient who had passed away moments ago. Another instance raising eyebrows was when she reportedly joked with her colleagues about injecting a patient with potassium.
The motive of Poggiali's alleged crimes remains unclear, but initial reports suggest that she may have committed the murders just because she found the patients or their relatives a little annoying. Whenever she grew tired of their demands, she would just spike their medication with dozes of lethal chemicals, according to authorities.
Health care professionals deliberately hurting their own patients is nothing new. However, it's Poggiali's mindboggling motive that makes her alleged heinous crimes all the more astonishing.
The most prolific serial killer in medical history, of course, remains Charles Cullen, who in 2003 admitted to killing 40 of his patients, although it is strongly believed that the number ran much higher. Like Poggiali, Cullen's crimes too went unnoticed as the hospital staff paid no attention to the unusually high number of fatalities under him.