A biomedical technician who cut off the oxygen supply to the ICU because his colleague had taken his pen as a joke is accused of killing six people.
Male nurse Ekrem K. allegedly took the pen from his colleague Fatih K.’s scrubs in the ICU of a hospital in the district of Sisli in the north-western Turkish province of Istanbul on the afternoon of 20th February 2020.
He allegedly took the pen without asking in order to sign some documents and refused to hand it back when asked so as to tease his colleague.
Fatih, 35, was allegedly heard saying: “Give me the pen, or I will cut off the oxygen to the intensive care unit.”
Believing his colleague would never do anything so stupid, Ekrem continued to wind up Fatih by refusing to hand his pen back.
But to his horror, Fatih opened the cover of the oxygen control panel in the intensive care unit and closed the valve that sends oxygen to the ward.
This caused an alarm to sound in the hospital and reportedly left patients gasping for breath, among them Yusuf Sanin, 56, who later died.
Fatih later confessed in his statement to the authorities: “It was something I should not have done. I am really sad. There is no explanation for what I did.”
The police investigation however is reportedly investigating whether he was responsible for the deaths of not just one but six ICU patients after five others there that day went on to die, possibly as a result of Fatih’s actions.
The Istanbul Criminal Court of First Instance believes such actions constitute the crime of ‘killing with possible intent’ and has thus sent the case to the High Criminal Court.
However, autopsies could not be performed on the other patients, so a causal link between Fatih’s actions and their deaths cannot as yet be confirmed.
However, the judicial committee overseeing the case will reportedly discuss the possible link between the actions of the accused and the further five patients’ deaths over the coming days.
The case is ongoing, and it is not clear when the next hearing will take place.