Nurse charged over hospital deaths

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A nurse who was employed by Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport has been charged in connection with the deaths of five patients at the hospital and causing another to become critically ill.

Rebecca Leighton, 27, has been accused of six counts of causing damage with intent to endanger life or being reckless as to whether life was being endangered.  She has also been charged with one count of theft of medicine.

It is alleged that Ms Leighton tampered with saline products at the hospital, which were later found to have been contaminated with insulin.  A natural hormone produced by the body, insulin regulates the level of blood sugar in the system.  

The alarm was raised after senior nursing staff reported the suspicious deaths of a number of patients who had unexplained low blood sugar levels.  Police who were called to investigate discovered insulin in a batch of 36 saline ampoules in a storeroom close to wards A1 and A3 of the hospital.

Ms Leighton is expected to appear before Manchester Magistrates’ Court today (Saturday July 23) to answer the charges.

Police investigations are continuing.