Nurse trial told seizures suffered by baby 'did not happen naturally'

Lucy Letby, 33, is accused of attempting to murder the premature-born infant in her cot.

Two seizures suffered by baby girl did not happen naturally, Lucy Letby trial told ITV

Two seizures suffered by a baby girl did not happen naturally, the murder trial of a nurse has heard.

Lucy Letby, 33, is accused of attempting to murder the premature-born infant in her cot at the Countess of Chester Hospital’s neonatal unit.

Child J had two “profound” drops in blood oxygen levels at about 5am on November 27 2015.

Two further episodes took place two hours later, Manchester Crown Court was told, when her heart rate also plunged and she showed signs of a seizure.

On Monday, consultant paediatrician Dr John Gibbs said her limbs stiffened on the latter two occasions and her hands were “clenched”.

He said the first fit was “reasonably long” and took 10 minutes to settle, while the second stopped after “three or four minutes”.

Tests showed no signs of infection and did not identify a cause for the seizures, the court heard.

Giving evidence on Tuesday, expert medical witness Dr Dewi Evans told prosecutor Nick Johnson KC: “The first pair of collapses were unexpected because she was nice and stable before that.

“The second pair of events were more serious and required more in the way of resuscitation, but again were unexpected and I noted the markers for inflammation were normal which tended to rule out infection.

“The second pair coincided with what the doctors describe as a seizure or a fit. This is indicative of something going wrong with the brain.

“My opinion was that (Child J’s) brain was deprived of oxygen for a sufficient level of time to cause hypoxia i.e. loss of oxygen to the brain causing fits.

“As far as I know this was the only occasion when she had seizures and the cause of this was the hypoxia, the lack of oxygen to the brain.”

Mr Johnson asked the retired consultant paediatrician: “So far as the hypoxic incidents that had caused these seizures were concerned, could you identify any natural process that might have caused that?”

Dr Evans replied: “No, I could not. There was no reason why she suddenly became hypoxic.”

Mr Johnson went on: “If infection had been the cause of her rapid decline would she have recovered as quickly as she did?”

Dr Evans said: “I don’t think she would. Babies who develop an infection usually recover over a period of days.”

Child J had previously undergone bowel surgery a day after her birth but medics have said she was stable in the weeks that followed.

On the morning of November 27 she was being cared for in nursery room 4 in readiness for returning home to her parents.

She eventually was discharged in January 2016 and was described as progressing “very well” at her final outpatient clinic more than a year later.

Letby, originally from Hereford, denies murdering seven babies and attempting to murder 10 others between June 2015 and June 2016.

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