A court heard how a British nurse intentionally dislodged a newborn’s breathing tube at the hospital’s neonatal unit, then told police she was waiting to see if the baby would recover without intervention.
According to iTV, Lucy Letby, 33, displaced the baby’s breathing tube within two hours of her being born in February 2016. Consultant Dr. Ravi Jayaram testified that he went into the nursery room and found Letby standing near the baby — whose blood oxygen levels were in the 80s and plummeting.
iTV reported that the baby was born prematurely at 25 weeks and weighed 1.5 pounds.
Jayaram said Letby did “nothing” to assist the baby and a monitor, which had an alarm that went off if blood oxygen levels went below 90, was silent.
According to prosecutors, Letby told police that she would have “raised the alarm” if Jayaram was not there and if she noticed the baby’s oxygen levels were falling or that the breathing tube was dislodged.
Letby allegedly stated that the breathing tube may have been improperly secured, but it was not deliberate.
“Miss Letby thought it possible that she was waiting to see if (Child K) self-corrected. She explained that nurses don’t always intervene straightaway if levels were not ‘dangerously low,'” prosecutors said, iTV reported.
The child was transferred to another hospital that day. Though she died three days later, authorities have not linked Letby to her death.
Jayaram previously testified that he first raised concerns about babies experiencing suspicious medical episodes in October 2015. Though his team reportedly notified Countess of Chester Hospital’s senior director, no action was taken.
Jayaram said he mentioned the issue again in February 2016, this time to the hospital’s medical director. Court testimony revealed that a colleague had requested a meeting but they did not get a response for three months.
“As clinicians, we put our faith in the system … in senior management to escalate concerns and investigate them. The initial response was, ‘It’s unlikely that anything is going on. We’ll see what happens.’ We said, ‘OK’ – against our better judgment in retrospect,” he testified.
Jayaram stated that, in retrospect, he wished he had “bypassed” hospital officials and gone to law enforcement.
Jayaram said things reached a tipping point in June 2016 — around the time suspect Lucy Letby was removed from front-line nursing.
He testified, “We were also beginning to get a reasonable amount of pressure from senior management at the hospital not to make a fuss.”
Between 2015 and 2016, Letby allegedly killed seven babies and injured 10 more. She has denied claims that she injected air into the victims’ bloodstream and gave them insulin.
Previous testimony also linked Letby to the slaying of a 1.7-pound baby who reportedly had air forced into his stomach via a nasogastric tube. An expert testified that the boy was thriving at the time of his sudden death. The expert stated that he was “potentially at risk of complications” after birth, and he was receiving routine treatment for pneumonia.
However, the expert concluded that pneumonia did not kill the newborn.
A pediatric consultant had testified that he stopped Letby from killing a 98-minute-old baby, who was also born prematurely. The consultant reportedly caught Letby standing over the incubator as the baby’s oxygen levels plummeted. The consultant allegedly found the baby’s breathing tube was dislodged and that an alarm had been silenced.
Letby reportedly did not help the baby or seek backup. The consultant said he was already uneasy with Letby being alone with the preemie as he “started to notice a coincidence between unexplained deaths, serious collapses,” and Letby’s presence.
The trial continues.
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[Featured image: Lucy Letby/Handout]