A case of neonatal murders in a British hospital is making headlines around the world. But even more shocking is that implicated in these deaths is a person whose job it is to look after and protect those tiny, frail lives: a neonatal nurse working in the unit.
Neonatal Murders Carried Out by a Nurse
According to the BBC, British nurse Lucy Letby was arrested on Tuesday, 3 July, after she was suspected to be responsible for a series of neonatal murders.
The neonatal nurse allegedly murdered eight newborns and was trying to kill six others at Countess of Chester Hospital in Chester, England.
The hospital requested an investigation after a sudden, unexplained mortality-rate spike in their neonatal unit.
Doctors could not determine how these babies died. Initial investigations focused on the deaths of eight babies. But now police will also investigate the deaths of 17 and 15 “non-fatal collapses” between March 2015 and July 2016. These were babies that declined drastically but managed to survive.
According to The Guardian, “It is thought to be the most significant police investigation into child deaths in hospitals since the nurse Beverley Allitt, nicknamed the “Angel of Death”, was jailed for 30 years for murdering four children with lethal injections and attempting to murder three more in the early 1990s.”
Meanwhile, friends, co-workers and acquaintances of Letby, 28, were shocked to hear about her being charged for these neonatal murders. Letby was known to be devoted to the job, extremely kindhearted and even actively involved with fundraising campaigns for a new neonatal unit for the hospital. They simply cannot believe Letby is guilty.
This Is Not the First Time It Has Happened
Take for instance the case of the two suspended Navy nurses in the USA who shared photos and clips of themselves “playing” with babies — squashing their faces, flipping them off and calling them “mini-Satans”, all for a laugh.
Then there were the five newborns who suffered severe injuries — skull, rib, and arm fractures — at the hands of one nurse, also in the USA. This later prompted the hospital to increase their security measures and install CCTV in the NICU.
But even with CCTV installed, it still happens. One Bulgarian nurse was caught on CCTV biting and beating a four-day-old newborn after pulling a 24-hour shift. She was later charged with malpractice and attempted murder.
What Could Have Triggered These Alleged Murders?
We won’t know for sure until investigations are over. Letby is still being held for suspicion and authorities have yet to officially charge her of any wrongdoing.
Was it work stress that drove the person to do it? Or was it a mental breakdown? Was it depression? Did the person feel sorry for the baby, then decide to play God by taking lives into their own hands?
For now, we can only speculate what could have pushed anyone to commit these neonatal murders.
Sources: BBC, New York Post, The Guardian
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