Lucy Letby: infant ‘received IV feed contaminated with insulin’
Nurse accused of attempting to murder Child F by injecting synthetic insulin into his nutrition during a night shift at the Countess of Chester Hospital
A baby boy allegedly poisoned by Lucy Letby received two bags of intravenous feed contaminated with insulin, a court has heard.
The nurse is accused of attempting to murder the infant by injecting synthetic insulin into his nutrition during a night shift at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit.
Child F’s blood sugar dropped to a dangerously low level, trial hears
The heart rate of the youngster – referred to as Child F – soared and his blood sugar dropped to a dangerously low level after the prescribed bag containing nutrients was connected to an intravenous line after midnight on 5 August 5 2015.
Child F’s blood sugar levels remained low throughout the following day shift, but eventually made a full recovery after a decision to stop giving the nutrients from the second stock bag in the early evening, Manchester Crown Court has heard.
On Wednesday prosecutor Nick Johnson KC asked expert witness consultant neonatologist Dr Sandie Bohin: ‘Did you conduct a careful review of the medical notes and identified the fact that there was material … to suggest that the TPN [Total Parenteral Nutrition] bag had been changed?’
‘Yes,’ she replied.
Mr Johnson said: ‘And secondly, it followed, given the blood sugar readings, that two bags must have been contaminated with insulin?’
Dr Bohin said: ‘Yes, if a new long line is inserted it would be usual practice to throw away the old bag of TPN, change the long line and put up a new bag, which would mean insulin would need to have been in two bags.’
Persistent low blood sugar levels in babies could be ‘absolutely devastating’, court told
Jurors have heard the TPN bags – both prescribed and stock – were kept in a locked fridge in a store room at the unit, along with insulin.
The nursing shift leader would hold a set of keys to the fridge but they would be passed around colleagues as and when they needed access with no log taken.
Dr Bohin told the court that neonatal hypoglycaemia – persistent low blood sugar levels – could be ‘absolutely devastating’.
She said: ‘Initially babies may become a little unwell, but if left untreated they could go on to have seizures, fall into a coma and subsequently die.’
Mr Johnson asked another expert witness, consultant paediatrician Dr Dewi Evans: ‘Have you ever heard of the legitimate administration of insulin by somebody putting it into a bag of feed?’
Dr Evans replied: ‘No. never happens. Insulin is always given in a 50ml syringe driver.’
Jurors were told that Child F was the only baby who was receiving TPN on the night shift on which he was allegedly poisoned.
The defendant, originally from Hereford, denies murdering seven babies and the attempted murders of ten others between June 2015 and June 2016.
The trial continues.
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