A nurse thought “not again” after two babies collapsed on successive nights at a neonatal unit, the trial of Lucy Letby has heard.
Letby is alleged to have injected air into the bloodstream of a newborn, Child A, shortly after she came on shift on 8 June 2015, just over 24 hours after his premature birth.
Child A died at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit despite efforts to revive him.
The prosecution claims the 32-year-old used the same method to try to kill another baby, Child B, the following night.
Giving evidence at Manchester Crown Court on Monday, Letby’s colleague said she was preparing medicines when the monitor alarm sounded at Child B’s incubator.
She added that Letby was the first who got to the cot and called her for help.
Asked about Child B’s appearance, she said: “She looked very like (child A) the night before. Pale, white, with this purple blotchy discolouration. It was all over her body.
“I just remember thinking ‘not again’ – to see (another baby) with the same appearance.”
Child B “started to stabilise quite quickly” after a breathing tube was inserted, said the witness.
The nurse went on: “(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.”
Child B recovered and was eventually discharged a month later.
‘Mentor’ to Letby
The nurse said she couldn’t remember who administered intravenous fluids to Child A before his collapse but accepted she told police that another nursing colleague had “pressed start” in the process and Letby assisted with checks.
She said she acted as “mentor” to Letby, who first came to the unit as a trainee around 2010/11 while studying at the University of Chester.
They became “good friends”, she said, as Letby went on to join the unit after she qualified.
Defending Letby, Ben Myers KC asked the nurse: “We know the allegations but your experience when working with her was she was highly professional?
“Yes,” replied the witness.
Mr Myers said: “And dedicated to the work she was doing?”
“Yes,” agreed the witness.
Letby denies murdering seven babies and the attempted murders of 10 others while she worked at the neonatal unit between June 2015 and June 2016.