A Tuscan hospital nurse who was arrested three weeks ago and accused of murdering 13 patients in 2014-15 has been released from detention while the investigation continues, news reports said Thursday.
Fausta Bonino was released from a Pisa prison on Wednesday following a court ruling, the details of which were not known. Judges had been called on to decide whether there was enough evidence to justify her detention.
Bonino, who was arrested on March 31, remains a suspect under investigation.
She was linked to a string of suspicious deaths in an intensive care ward of a hospital in Piombino, a port south-west of Florence, between January 2014 and September 2015.
Prosecutors claimed that the victims, aged between 61 and 88, died after being administered large doses of an unprescribed drug. They noted that the high mortality rates in the ward dropped as soon as Bonino was moved out of it.
According to the ANSA news agency, the nurse's lawyer presented a forensic report showing that not all 13 patients died from lethal injections of the Heparin blood thinner, as suggested by the prosecution.
"My wife is innocent, full stop," her husband Renato Di Biagio told reporters outside the couple's home on Thursday.
In a separate development on Thursday, four doctors were placed under house arrest, and another six and one midwife were barred for a year from the medical profession in Reggio Calabria, a city on the tip of Italy's boot.
They are accused of covering up serious cases of medical malpractice at the local hospital's gynaecology and obstetrics ward, including the death of two newborns, an unwanted abortion and leaving another baby with severe disabilities, police said in a statement.
Reggio Calabria Chief Prosecutor Federico Cafiero de Raho said investigators learned about the alleged crimes by chance, from wiretapped phone conversations of a doctor placed under surveillance because of his family links to a local Ndrangheta Mafia mobster.
Investigations revealed "a series of serious examples of professional negligence" and the suspects' "absolute cold-heartedness and indifference" towards their victims, Cafiero de Raho said in another statement.