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Residents express shock over 2nd poisoning death at Yokohama hospital

A notice posted on a door at Oguchi Hospital asks visitors to report any suspicious items or persons to hospital staff, in Kanagawa Ward, Yokohama, on Sept. 26, 2016. (Mainichi)

YOKOHAMA -- A second patient was confirmed dead on Sept. 26 from contamination of their intravenous drip at Oguchi Hospital in this city's Kanagawa Ward. The case appears to be a series of murders, sending shockwaves among those who knew the victim and the hospital.

    The newly announced victim was Sozo Nishikawa, 88, an unemployed man of the city's Aoba Ward. According to neighbors, he lived together with his wife.

    On the night of Sept. 26, Nishikawa's wife released a comment through her lawyer, reading in part, "This is sad. If it were death by illness I could just give up, but if he was killed, then I wonder if my decision in choosing that hospital was wrong." It continued, "I remember how my husband was suffering in the end. I want to know why he had to die. I want the truth to come out."

    According to a 73-year-old woman living nearby, Nishikawa fell in his garden this summer and hurt himself, and he was hospitalized for treatment. She says that Nishikawa and his wife got along well, and the local elderly club the wife belonged to celebrated their long lives.

    The woman said that Nishikawa "had a calm personality" and added, "I've never heard of him being in any disputes."

    Another woman, 80, said that a few days ago she had heard from Nishikawa's wife that her husband had transferred to Oguchi Hospital and that he had died. She said she was surprised, as she had learned of the name Oguchi Hospital from the earlier news of the first patient poisoning death.

    "Nishikawa's wife told me he liked alcohol and cigarettes. I never thought ..." she said.

    Every morning Nishikawa would take a stroll. Neighbors remember well the image of him briskly walking along. One woman said, "He was small and thin, and would walk along straight and energetically. I stopped seeing him from the summer, but I didn't think someone so close to my life would fall victim to a crime."

    At around 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 26, hospital management released to the gathered media a comment from hospital head Yoichi Takahashi reading, "I feel an anger that cannot be fully expressed in words against the criminal who committed this inhumane crime. I feel a guilty sense of responsibility as the manager." Management of the hospital added that Takahashi and Nishikawa's main doctor will explain what happened to Nishikawa's relatives and apologize to them.

    Residents living near the hospital expressed their unease. A 74-year-old man who says he goes to the hospital as a patient about once every two months said, "I can't believe it. I will continue to trust my doctor and visit the hospital, but I hope they quickly catch the criminal."

    A 38-year-old woman living nearby said, "Even if one of my parents became bedridden, I would definitely not want to put them in that hospital."

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