Italian Doctor Charged With Murder, Accused of Drugging COVID Patients for Bed Space

A doctor in northern Italy has been accused of issuing lethal doses of drugs to elderly coronavirus patients in order to free up hospital beds during the first wave of the pandemic in March.

Dr. Carlo Mosca, who was the head of the emergency department at Montichiari Hospital in Brescia, Italy, was arrested this week on accusations of killing at least two patients and tampering with their medical records.

Prosecutors in Italy have alleged that Mosca administered lethal doses of anesthetic and neuromuscular blockers to older patients, leading to the deaths of 61-year-old Natale Bassi and 80-year-old Angelo Paletti.

The two patients were exhumed last month and determined to have had doses of the drugs succinylcholine and propofol in their system, The Daily Beast reported.

Both drugs are commonly used when patients are placed on a ventilator, but investigators discovered from medical files neither of the patients were intubated while at the hospital. Using the drugs on non-intubated patients causes them to suffocate, according to the court documents reported on by the publication.

Prosecutors have also brought forth evidence that the lethal injections were carried out from text messages between nurses working under Mosca.

"Did he ask you to administer the drugs without intubating them?" one nurse wrote in a message. "I'm not killing patients just because he wants to free up the beds. This is crazy," allegedly wrote another.

When nurses started refusing Mosca's orders to inject patients with the drugs, he allegedly began doing it himself. According to The Daily Beast, prosecutors say he then wrote false terminal diagnoses on the patients' charts to make their deaths seem more believable.

The investigation into Mosca reportedly began after statistical analysis of deaths in the emergency room at Motichiari stood out compared to other hospitals in the region, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Records show that several deaths occurred shortly after patients were admitted to the hospital, and a number of patients were recorded to have died from sudden worsening health conditions. Authorities are now searching through all of Mosca's deceased patient records for additional anomalies in their treatment and deaths.

The investigating magistrate in the case has suggested that Mosca was the "victim in the throes of extreme stress originating from having to face the growing influx of COVID cases," according to The Daily Beast.

"The replication of the extreme conditions that led to his crimes made it probable that he resolved to administer prohibited drugs to the most serious patients in order to speed up their death, thereby falsifying the data contained in the relative medical records," the statement added.

PIERO CRUCIATTI
A doctor in northern Italy has been accused of killing two elderly coronavirus patients to free up hospital beds during the first wave of the pandemic in March. Here, a medical worker wearing a face make and protection gear tends to a patient inside the intensive care unit of a hospital in Lombardy, Italy, on March 17, 2020. Getty

Mosca's crimes were allegedly committed at a time when Italy's Lombardy region, where his hospital was located, was hit devastatingly hard by the virus.

In an interview with Italian media in June, Mosca stated that his hospital was inundated with so many patients that they had to turn the canteen into a ward with 30 beds.

"Every shift was a battle to save as many lives as possible," he said at the time.

Mosca has since been discharged from the hospital and is on house arrest before his first hearing this Friday.

In response to the claims, the doctor has stated that he is "absolutely innocent" and that he did not administer the drugs and "cannot understand why" he is being accused of doing so, The Jerusalem Post reported.