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Lucy Letby: nurse witness says ‘not again’ when baby collapsed

Giving evidence at Manchester Crown Court, nursing colleague recalls she was preparing medicines when monitor alarm sounded at Child B’s incubator

Giving evidence at Manchester Crown Court, nursing colleague recalls she was preparing medicines when monitor alarm sounded at Child B’s incubator

A nurse giving evidence at the trial of Lucy Letby has told how she thought ‘not again’ when a baby suddenly collapsed on a second consecutive night at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit.

Child A had rapidly deteriorated in the evening of 8 June 2015 and died at the unit despite efforts to revive him.

Nurse tells court Ms Letby was first to go to the cot and call for help

It is alleged Ms Letby injected air into the bloodstream of the newborn shortly after she came on shift. The

Giving evidence at Manchester Crown Court, nursing colleague recalls she was preparing medicines when monitor alarm sounded at Child B’s incubator

Court sketch of Lucy Letby
Court sketch of Lucy Letby. Picture: PA

A nurse giving evidence at the trial of Lucy Letby has told how she thought ‘not again’ when a baby suddenly collapsed on a second consecutive night at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit.

Child A had rapidly deteriorated in the evening of 8 June 2015 and died at the unit despite efforts to revive him.

Nurse tells court Ms Letby was first to go to the cot and call for help

It is alleged Ms Letby injected air into the bloodstream of the newborn shortly after she came on shift. The Crown alleges she used the same method to attack his sister, Child B, the following night.

Giving evidence at Manchester Crown Court on Monday, a nursing colleague of Ms Letby’s recalled she was preparing medicines when the monitor alarm sounded at Child B’s incubator on 9 June.

The nurse, who said she acted as a ‘mentor’ to the defendant, said that Ms Letby was the first to go to the cot and she called for help.

Asked about Child B’s appearance she said: ‘She looked very ill. She looked very like her brother did the night before. Pale, white, with this purple blotchy discolouration. It was all over her body. I just remember thinking ‘not again’ – to see his sister with the same appearance.’

‘Child A’s deterioration was very sudden and to an unusual degree’, court hears

The nurse, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said a breathing tube was inserted and Child B ‘started to stabilise quite quickly’.

She added: ‘Child A’s deterioration was very sudden and to an unusual degree. Babies can be very poorly quickly but there is usually some indication that is happening. We had no undue concerns.

‘She [Child B] deteriorated very quickly and then this discolouration. You never want any baby to die. You want to help them go home to their families. That’s always been my goal.’

Child B recovered and was eventually discharged a month later, the court has heard.

The nurse could not explain why she had not mentioned an unusual discolouration in Child A’s appearance when interviewed by police in 2018, but when later questioned about Child B she said her discoloured skin was similar to her brother.

She told Ben Myers KC, defending, that people on the unit were talking at the time about rashes, but she was not influenced by anything somebody said.

Nurse agrees with the defence that in her experience Ms Letby was ‘highly professional’

The nurse said she had become ‘good friends’ with Ms Letby, who first came to the unit as a student around 2010-2011 while studying at the University of Chester and later joined as an employee when she qualified.

Mr Myers said: ‘We know the allegations, but your experience when working with her was she was highly professional?

The nurse replied: ‘Yes.’

Meanwhile, a consultant working on the unit said he regretted not being ‘more courageous’ in coming forward to the coroner with his concerns about the death of Child A.

Consultant paediatrician Dr Ravi Jayaram said that around the time of Child A’s inquest, a group of clinicians had begun to raise concerns to hospital bosses about the ‘association we had seen with an individual being present in those situations and, how do I say diplomatically, being told we really should not be saying such things and not to make a fuss’.

Dr Jayaram added: ‘It is a matter of regret that had I suggested this, and it could have been happening, I didn’t really have any hard evidence apart from the association we had seen. And it is a matter of regret and I wish I had been more courageous.’

Fatal amount of air the ‘size of a teaspoon’ deliberately given to Child A, consultant paediatrican tells court

On Tuesday the court heard from two expert consultant paediatricians for the prosecution that they believed a fatal amount of air the ‘size of a teaspoon’ was deliberately given to Child A, allegdly murdered by Ms Letby.

Dr Dewi Evans said in his opinion it was ‘extremely unlikely’ that air was administered accidentally, with fellow expert Dr Sandie Bohin agreeing that in her experience ‘nursing staff are absolutely meticulous in preventing any air getting into those lines’.

Dr Evans said: ‘The air would have got through an intravenous line. That could only have happened in two ways – accidentally or on purpose.’

He added there was ‘no way’ it could have been accidental because of the ‘failsafe systems, the alarms and the monitoring’ of intravenous line equipment.

Dr Bohin said: ‘The lines and the connecting points are filled with saline so even the tiniest of air bubbles could not get in. It is ingrained in nursing staff.’

Ms Letby denies the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of ten others while she worked at the neonatal unit between June 2015 and June 2016.

The trial began on 10 October and is expected to last six months.


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