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Texas Nurse Charged with Killing 5 with Bleach

Texas Nurse Charged with Killing 5 with Bleach

Associated Press/AP Online

April 04, 2009

LUFKIN, Texas — Kimberly Saenz worked eight months as a nurse at the busiest dialysis clinic in town. Her turbulent final month on the job is all anyone remembers. One patient after another died last April for reasons no one could explain. Ambulances had to rush people to the emergency room almost every day. Things got so grim at the Lufkin Dialysis Center that the clinic shut down to investigate.

One year later, prosecutors say they have an explanation: Saenz deliberately injected 10 patients with bleach, killing five of them in what were probably excruciatingly painful deaths.

Investigators have offered no hint at a motive.

“How can someone that sick walk around and appear to be a normal person?” said Linda Few, whose mother, Opal, was among the five who died. “This many people? It’s blowing my mind. I mean, we live in Lufkin.”


This photo provided by the Angelina County Sheriff's Office shows former nurse Kimberly Saenz in Lufkin, Texas, Wednesday, April 1, 2009. (Source: AP)

In a chilling indictment handed up this week, Saenz, 35, was charged with one count of capital murder covering five patients. She was also charged with aggravated assault against five other patients who were allegedly injected with bleach but survived.

Among them was Debra Oates, who left the clinic on an ambulance stretcher April 26 last year when her arm would not stop bleeding. Her nurse that day was Saenz, who Oates said often helped her pass the dreary, hours-long dialysis treatments by telling jokes.

“I started throwing up and having chest pains,” Oates said last year. “I was hurting all over.”

Oates said she watched three people before her rushed to the hospital on the same day she was stricken. Altogether, 34 emergency calls were made from the clinic in April — more than three times the number in March.

Investigators believe Saenz used syringes to inject bleach into the patients’ dialysis lines.

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