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A hospital employee has confessed to killing between 40 and 50 patients he believed were so ill they were close to death, a state board said Friday in suspending his license.

The respiratory care practitioner confessed to police to killing dozens of patients at Glendale Adventist Medical Center since 1989, said Cathleen A. McCoy, executive officer of the state Respiratory Care Board.

Prosecutors said they have been investigating the case for a month, but no charges have been filed against the worker, Efren Saldivar.

Saldivar could not be located for comment Friday evening, and it was not clear if he has a lawyer.

In a declaration to the board, Glendale police Officer William Currie described a March 11 interview in which Saldivar waived his Miranda rights and confessed.

Currie said Saldivar told him some deaths were caused by lethal injection and others were caused by decreasing oxygen to patients on ventilators.

Currie said Saldivar's criteria to kill a patient was: They had to be unconscious, have a do not resuscitate order and had to look like they were ready to die.

"Saldivar said he prided himself in having a very ethical criteria as to how he picked victims," Currie said.

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