—blogged by @lovelikejhoney
British healthcare employee has been arrested on suspicion of the murder and attempted murder of several infant patients.
Last year, when Chester Police investigated the neo-natal unit at the Countess of Chester Hospital their initial focus was on the death of 15 babies. However, on Tuesday, Detective Inspector Paul Hughes announced the scope of the investigation has widened.
“We are now currently investigating the deaths of 17 babies and 15 non-fatal collapses between the period of March 2015 and July 2016.”
Although the British woman was arrested on Tuesday morning, police have not identified whether she is a nurse, doctor or other health professional.
The initial investigation came just months after a Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) publication reported the hospital’s high death rate and offered 24 recommendations for improvement.
One area of concern on the RCPCH reports, were the post-mortem results which found “no definitive explanation” for the deaths of multiple babies. Furthermore the staffing levels on the ward were “inadequate” with significant gaps in medical and nursing rotations and insufficient staffing for the provision of longer term high dependency and some intensive care.
In a statement, Countess of Chester Hospital medical director Ian Harvey said:
“Asking the police to look into this was not something we did lightly, but we need to do everything we can to understand what has happened here and get the answers we and the families so desperately want.”
Detective Inspector Hughes added:
“This is a highly complex and very sensitive investigation and, as you can appreciate, we need to ensure we do everything we possibly can to try to establish in detail what has led to these baby deaths and collapses.”
The officer added no further details would be available at this stage as the investigation is still ongoing. However, the parents and families of the babies are continuing to be kept fully updated and being supported throughout the process.