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Lucy Letby: wire may have caused bleeding in Child E, trial hears

A consultant has ruled out possibility of ‘innocent explanation’ for Child E’s gastrointestinal haemorrhage in nurse’s murder trial
Lucy Letby court sketch

A consultant has ruled out possibility of ‘innocent explanation’ for Child E’s gastrointestinal haemorrhage in nurse’s murder trial

A rigid wire or tube may have been used to cause ‘extraordinary bleeding’ in a baby boy allegedly murdered by nurse Lucy Letby, a court has heard.

Child E died after ‘significant haemorrhaging’ after possible trauma

Jurors at Manchester Crown Court heard the infant lost a quarter of his blood volume before he collapsed and died in the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit.

The blood loss took place during a night shift on 3 August 2015 in which Ms Letby was the designated nurse for the twin boy, who had been born premature, referred to

A consultant has ruled out possibility of ‘innocent explanation’ for Child E’s gastrointestinal haemorrhage in nurse’s murder trial

Lucy Letby court sketch
Court sketch of Lucy Letby Picture: Alamy

A rigid wire or tube may have been used to cause ‘extraordinary bleeding’ in a baby boy allegedly murdered by nurse Lucy Letby, a court has heard.

Child E died after ‘significant haemorrhaging’ after possible trauma

Jurors at Manchester Crown Court heard the infant lost a quarter of his blood volume before he collapsed and died in the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit.

The blood loss took place during a night shift on 3 August 2015 in which Ms Letby was the designated nurse for the twin boy, who had been born premature, referred to as Child E.

The Crown says the defendant injected a fatal amount of air into the infant’s bloodstream.

Giving evidence on Friday, expert medical witness Dewi Evans said he thought Child E had experienced a fatal air embolism – a blockage of the blood supply – after a treating medic noticed ‘unusual’ purple patches on the baby’s abdomen.

He said a second ‘major’ issue was ‘significant haemorrhaging from the upper gastrointestinal tract, somewhere between the mouth and the stomach’.

Dr Evans said: ‘I think he suffered trauma from some other form of injury. There are a number of bits of equipment on a neonatal unit that are relatively rigid. Plastic tubes used for suction, for example, so it could have been that.’

Consultant rules out ‘innocent explanation’ for bleed

He said another medical instrument known as an introducer – a thin wire surrounded by plastic which can be used to intubate a baby – would be ‘more than sufficient to cause trauma if used inappropriately’.

Dr Evans said: ‘I cannot be 100% certain what caused the trauma to the gastrointestinal system but it had to be some kind of relatively stiff equipment that was sufficient to cause this extraordinary bleeding.’

Prosecutor Nick Johnson KC asked the consultant paediatrician if there could be an ‘innocent explanation’ for the level of bleeding.

Dr Evans replied: ‘No. The other explanation for this is a bleeding ulcer. I have never seen a bleeding ulcer cause this sort of presentation.’

In his initial reports, Dr Evans said he was ‘at a loss’ to explain the haemorrhaging and it was not possible to say if any deliberate harm took place because of an absence of a post-mortem.

Child E’s mother reported ‘horrendous crying’

In a further report – after he reviewed a statement from Child E’s mother who described ‘horrendous crying’ from her son and blood around his mouth – he suggested something ‘had been done or used’ to cause trauma.

Dr Evans suggested that a nasogastric tube could have been thrust into the baby’s stomach with inappropriate force.

However, he told the court he later saw the type of tube used by the hospital at the time and ruled it out as it would be incapable of causing such damage.

Ms Letby denies the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of ten others between June 2015 and June 2016.


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