A nurse caring for a premature baby at Countess of Chester Hospital thought ‘Oh no, not again’ when she saw the baby collapse 28 hours after her twin brother’s death, Lucy told Letby’s trial today.
Nurse A, along with other staff, had been trying to resuscitate baby A when she felt his last heartbeat.
The next night, at about 12:30 a.m. on June 10, 2015, Lucy Letby, the longtime friend she once tutored as a student, called her to Baby B’s incubator.
Lucy Letby, 32, is charged with murdering seven babies and attempted murder of another ten. She denies all charges
Nurse Letby, 32, is said to have injected air into the bloodstream of the newborn, Child A, shortly after she entered service on June 8, 2015, just over 24 hours after his premature birth.
The Crown claims she used the same method to attack his sister, Child B, on the next night shift.
“Lucy went to her,” the nurse told the jury on the 11th day of Letby’s trial at Manchester Crown Court.
“She had been standing by me checking the medication. Lucy said, “She has apnea, she’s not breathing.” She asked me to go help’.
The two nurses had to use a neopuff device to help the baby breathe because she wasn’t breathing herself. ‘She was very pale. She had spots on her skin,” said Nurse A.
She continued: “She looked very sick all of a sudden. She looked a lot like her brother the night before. She was pale, white, with this purple, blotchy discoloration.
‘I remember thinking ‘Oh no, not again’. I had never seen anything like this before. To see his sister with the same appearance…’
Sister A, who cannot be named for legal reasons, called two doctors to help resuscitate the child.
A medical report of the incident read: ‘Shut up, limp, apnea… Color quickly changed to purple blotchiness with white spots. Began to become bradycardic (slow heart rate).
A breathing tube was inserted and Child B “started to stabilize quite quickly,” the screened witness from the public gallery and the defendant said.
The nurse continued: ‘The deterioration of (child A) was very sudden and to an unusual degree. Babies can be very bad very quickly, but there is usually an indication that this is happening. We had no unnecessary worries.
‘Deviating from that is very unusual and then (child B) the whole evening had been good for me … then she got sick very quickly. She deteriorated very quickly and then this discoloration.
“You never want a baby to die. You want to help them go home, to their families. That’s always been my goal.’
Child B recovered and was eventually discharged a month later, the court heard.
The nurse told the jury that she could not recall who had administered intravenous fluids to Child A shortly before his collapse, but accepted that she told police that another nurse colleague had pressed “start” during the trial and that Letby was helping with the controls.
John and Susan Letby, parents of Lucy Letby, arrive at Manchester Crown Court on Friday 21 October for their daughter’s murder trial
Letby, 32, of Hereford, is on trial for the alleged murder of seven babies at Countess of Chester Hospital, Cheshire, and the attempted murder of a further 10 between 2015 and 2016. She denies all charges.
Letby, 32, from Hereford, denies murdering seven babies and attempting to kill ten more.
Nurse A told Ben Myers, KC, defensively, that she first became a friend of Letby’s when the alleged killer was studying at Chester University around 2010 and 2011.
She had come to the neonatal unit twice during her training and eventually joined the team permanently once she qualified.
Nurse A agreed with Mr Myers that she found her colleague and friend “highly qualified and dedicated to the job she did” as a neonatology nurse.
The nurse said she acted as a ‘mentor’ to Letby, who first came to the ward around 2010/11 as an intern while studying at the University of Chester.
They became “good friends,” she said, when Letby joined the unit after she qualified.
Mr Myers said: ‘We know the allegations, but your experience when you worked with her was that she was very professional?
“Yes,” the witness replied.
Mr Myers said, ‘And committed to the work she did?’
“Yes,” the witness agreed.
The process continues.