A nurse thought “not again” when a baby suddenly collapsed on a second successive night at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit, jurors at the murder trial of Lucy Letby have been told. The evening before, the baby’s twin brother had rapidly deteriorated and died in the hospital’s neonatal unit, despite frantic attempts to save his life. It is alleged Letby injected air into the bloodstream of the newborn, Child A, just after she started her shift on June 8, 2015 – just 24 hours after the baby’s premature birth.
The prosecution alleges the 32-year-old former nurse used the same method to attack his sister, Child B, on her shift the following night.
A nursing colleague of Letby gave evidence in court today and said Letby was the first to go to the cot and she called her for help.
When asked about Child B’s appearance, she replied: “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.”
The witness, giving evidence screened from the public gallery and the defendant, said Child B “started to stabilise quite quickly” after a breathing tube was inserted.
The nurse continued: “(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.
“To go from that is very unusual and then (Child B) had been good throughout the evening for me … then she became ill very quickly. She 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.”
The court heard Child B later recovered and was discharged a month later.
The witness could not explain why when interviewed by police in 2018 she had not mentioned an unusual discolouration in Child A’s appearance.
However, when questioned later about Child B, she said her discoloured skin was similar to her brother.
She told Ben Myers KC, defending that at the time, people on the neonatal unit at the hospital were talking about rashes but insisted she was not influenced by anything somebody said.
The nurse added in comments to the jury that she could not remember who administered intravenous fluids to Child A shortly before his collapse.
But the witness accepted she told police another nursing colleague had “pressed start” in the process and Letby helped with checks.
Mr Myers said: “We know the allegations but your experience when working with her was she was highly professional?”
The witness replied: “Yes,” before Mr Myers said: “And dedicated to the work she was doing?” The witness answered: “Yes.”
Letby denies the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of 10 others while she worked at the neonatal unit between June 2015 and June 2016.