Japan hospital worker jailed for toenail pulling

PHOTO: Japan hospital worker jailed for toenail pulling

TOKYO - A Japanese court has jailed a hospital worker for three years for tearing off the toenails of elderly patients at a hospital to relieve her own frustration.

Akemi Sato, who worked as an assistant at a Kyoto hospital, peeled off the nails of four patients with dementia, some of whom were in their 90s, Kyoto District Court said in its ruling Wednesday, noting she had previously been convicted of doing exactly the same thing.

"It was a selfish crime that used weak individuals who cannot defend themselves as outlets for her own frustration," presiding judge Akiyoshi Sasano said.

"It has not been even three years since her previous prison term ended, and she repeated the offence."

In 2006, Sato was sentenced to three years and eight months in jail after tearing off a total of 49 finger- and toe-nails of six patients at another hospital.

The 38-year-old woman was arrested for her second crime in August, a few weeks after she began working at Mouri Hospital in Kyoto.

The head of the hospital said she did not reveal her criminal record in her resume and had lied about her career.