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Nurse Lucy Letby arrested in connection with deaths of 17 babies at Chester Hospital

This is the first major police inquiry into child deaths in UK hospitals in nearly 30 years.

by Maham Awais

Nurse Lucy Letby arrested in connection with deaths of 17 babies at Chester Hospital. This is the first major police inquiry into child deaths in UK hospitals in nearly 30 years.

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Lucy Letby is a children’s nurse in Chester hospital. The police arrested her last July on suspicion of murdering 17 babies. Soon after she got bail pending further investigation.

However, the police arrested her again on Monday on suspicion of the murder of eight babies and attempted murder of six babies. Letby is now suspected of trying to murder 3 more babies.

DI Paul Hughes of Cheshire Constabulary is in charge of the investigation. Letby has not been named by the police but she is in police custody. The police conducted searches at her home in the Blacon area of Chester on Monday, with a blue forensic tent positioned at the front of the property.

This is the first major police investigation into child deaths in UK hospitals in nearly 30 years. Countess of Chester’s neonatal unit recorded a high number of deaths and non-fatal collapses. Therefore, the investigation started 2 years ago to inquire into this alarming issue.

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Detectives are currently investigating the deaths of 17 babies and 16 non-fatal collapses between March 2015 and July 2016.

Lucy Letby

Letby is originally from Hereford. She worked at the hospital for seven years.  The police detained her last July while she training to work with babies in intensive care. Moreover, the 20-year-old nurse was suspended a year earlier and before this, she had been removed from clinical duties and placed in an administrative role.

child deaths in UK hospitals

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In a 2013 interview with the Chester and District Standard newspaper, the nurse said she cared for babies requiring various levels of support. She worked at the unit as a student nurse during three years of training before qualifying as a children’s nurse at the University of Chester in 2011.

The investigation is in full swing

According to The Sun, Hughes said, “I would like to reassure people that we are doing everything we can as quickly as we can to identify what has led to these baby deaths and collapses. Due to the nature of this investigation, it is extremely challenging. However, it is important to remember that it is very much active and ongoing. There are no set timescales and we remain committed to carrying out a thorough investigation as soon as possible. We fully appreciate that it continues to have a big impact on all those involved, including the families of the babies, staff, and patients at the hospital as well as members of the public.”

He continued, “Parents of all the babies are continuing to be kept fully updated. They are also being supported throughout the process by specially trained officers. This is an extremely difficult time for all the families. It is important to remember that, at the heart of this, there are a number of bereaved families seeking answers as to what happened to their children.”

Susan Gilby is the chief executive of the NHS trust that runs the Countess of Chester hospital. He said, “Our thoughts are with the bereaved families. We are cooperating fully with the ongoing police investigation and so are unable to comment further at this time.”

The investigation is currently ongoing.

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