Doctor accused of killing covid-19 patients to ‘free up beds’

A doctor in Italy has been arrested after claims he killed two coronavirus patients to ‘free up beds’ at the height of the pandemic. 

Carlo Mosca, 47, has been accused of giving Natale Bassi, 61, and Angelo Paletti, 80, lethal doses of anaesthetics at Montichiari Hospital near Brescia.

 The incident allegedly took place in March last year, when Italy hit the headlines for shocking pictures which showed Covid-19 patients lining hospital corridors. 

Police are also investigating another three deaths after reports Mosca altered the medical records of patients who died – and he has now been put under house arrest at his home in Mantua. He denies the charges against him, calling the allegations ‘baseless’.

Legal documents relating to the arrest have been released outlining the prosecution’s allegations against him. They claim messages revealed nurses suspected Mosca of killing patients to make space in the A&E department he headed up. 

Prosecutors say Mosca administered Succinylcholine and Propofol, which were typically used on the ward to anaesthetise Covid patients so they can have tubes inserted.

But it is thought the patients given the drugs never had tubes inserted – so they believe the use of anaesthesia was unnecessary. The hospital saw a 70% increase in orders of these drugs between November 2019 and April 2020 – but only five patients were given tubes during that period.

 An anonymous complaint was made at the end of April, and legal documents contain WhatsApp messages which suggest Mosca tried to get nurses to cover his tracks. The nurses said in messages to each other: ‘Did he ask you to administer the drugs without intubating them?’, ‘I’m not killing patients just because he wants to free up the beds,’ and, ‘This is crazy.’

Prosecutors add when he found out he was under investigation Mosca asked nurses to ‘agree on a convenient version of the story’ while ‘instigating them to declare falsehoods’. Lawyers also allege he asked colleagues to leave the room when he administered the drugs. ‘This has never happened to me before,’ one nurse said.

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