Neonatal nurse Lucy Letby tried to kill a premature baby by secretly adding lethal doses of insulin to at least three intravenous bags being used to f
Neonatal nurse Lucy Letby tried to kill a premature baby by secretly adding lethal doses of insulin to at least three intravenous bags being used to feed him, a jury at Manchester Crown Court heard today.
Nursing colleagues at the Countess of Chester Hospital continued to use the bags over a period of three days, completely unaware they had been contaminated and that therefore they were slowly poisoning Baby L.
Letby, 33, spent part of that time planning an impromptu house-warming party at her new home near the hospital, and later celebrating a £135 win on the 2016 Grand National.
At one point on April 9 – the day after the twins’ birth – she sent nursing pals a WhatsApp message that read: ‘Magnum of prosecco + vodka woop. No disco ball but sure we can manage x’
Later she tells them: ‘Unpacking party sounds good to me with the flavoured vodka…just won the Grand National’.
Neonatal nurse Lucy Letby, pictured, tried to kill a premature baby by secretly adding lethal doses of insulin to at least three intravenous bags being used to feed him, a jury at Manchester Crown Court heard today
Letby, 33, spent part of that time planning an impromptu house-warming party at her new home near the hospital, and later celebrating a £135 win on the 2016 Grand National
The prosecution alleges that while Letby was trying to kill Baby L with the contaminated bags of dextrose, she also launched an attack on his twin, Baby M, by injecting him with air.
Both babies survived, although Baby M has been left with permanent brain damage.
Today Professor Peter Hindmarsh, a consultant in paediatric endocrinology and diabetes at University College Hospitals and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, gave evidence about the contaminated feed bags.
He told Nick Johnson KC, prosecuting, that it would have been ‘fairly easy’ to inject the fast-acting insulin, named Actrapid, ‘if you were determined to do it’.
‘You’d draw it up with a needle and syringe into the infusion bags, either through the portal or directly into the bag. But through the portal would be the easiest way’.
Letby appeared at Manchester Crown Court (pictured) today where the case continued
Professor Hindmarsh said the vials of insulin available at the Countess of Chester NNU contained 100 units per millilitre, ‘so the volumes we’re talking about are quite small and would not be noticeable just on a routine stock check.
‘You would not notice a change in the volume within the bag, and norm, because it’s a clear substance, would you see any change in the bag.
‘Nor would you see any cloudiness in the bag, which you might have seen in older bags that were used many years ago’.
The professor agreed that insulin had a distinctive smell, but said: ‘You would only smell insulin if you’re drawing it up and if you’ve got it on your hands. But otherwise, no. Once it’s in the bag it’s sealed off from you being able to detect it by smell’.
Asked how many bags he thought would have had insulin added to them, he replied: ‘A minimum of three, potentially’. There would have been a ‘very high concentration’ of exogenous insulin.
Mr Johnson asked: ‘Someone could put insulin into each bag?’
Professor Hindmarsh replied: ‘Yes’.
He added that the nature of insulin meant that it could also have been present on the walls of the tube in the ‘giving set’ – ‘so you will still get insulin passing to the child’.
It was also possible that there was still some insulin on a giving set being used on April 11.
The trial resumes on Monday.