Lucy Letby “told off” a colleague who shouted for help when a baby’s oxygen levels dropped, her murder trial has been told.
Neonatal assistant Lisa Walker told jurors at Manchester Crown Court she was “shocked” and “taken aback” when Letby, 32, asked why she had sought assistance.
Miss Walker said she and the defendant – who is accused of murdering seven babies and trying to kill 10 others – were working together in a neonatal room at the Countess of Chester Hospital when an incident took place.
She said they were feeding infants in opposite corners of the room when an alarm monitor sounded at the cot where Letby was.
Giving evidence from behind a screen on Monday, Miss Walker said the alarm indicated oxygen levels had fallen.
Letby stopped the feed through a nasogastric tube, commenced “gentle stimulation” of the baby and, when that did not work, she gave oxygen via a facial mask, Miss Walker said.
She said the baby did not respond to the oxygen at first and she shouted for help as a nurse walked past the door.
Prosecutor Philip Astbury said: “Why ask for help?”
Miss Walker said: “Because the baby was not picking up.”
She said a doctor also came into the room but agreed the oxygen levels had increased by that point and later left.
Miss Walker said: “Then Lucy said to me, ‘Why did you shout for help?'”
Mr Astbury asked: “In what way?”
Miss Walker replied: “Quite firmly.”
Mr Astbury asked: “How did you feel about that?”
Miss Walker said: “Shocked because you can’t have enough help in that situation.”
Mr Astbury said: “Did you explain to her why you asked for help?”
Miss Walker replied: “I don’t think I did.”
Mr Astbury went on: “Why not?”
The witness said: “Because you trust colleagues, don’t you?”
Mr Astbury said: “How did you feel?”
Miss Walker said: “Quite taken aback and shocked because it’s something you would not expect a nurse to say.”
Mr Astbury said: “Why has it stuck in your memory?”
The witness said: “It’s because I was told off for shouting for help.”
Miss Walker agreed with Ben Myers, KC, defending, that she could not remember the date of the incident, or the name and sex of the baby involved.
Mr Myers said: “You didn’t see anything regarding Miss Letby’s actions towards the baby which caused you any concern at all?”
“No,” said Miss Walker.
She told Mr Myers she did not get the impression that Letby asked the question because she felt help was unnecessary in the situation.
Earlier, a doctor told the court it was “completely unclear” why a baby allegedly murdered by Letby had “dramatic deteriorations”.
The girl, referred to as Child D, is said to be the third child murdered by the defendant in a two-week period, with another youngster suffering a life-threatening collapse during the same time.
Registrar Andrew Brunton was called three times by concerned nurses during a night-shift in the early hours of June 22 2015 before Child D was pronounced dead.
Fellow junior prosecutor Simon Driver asked Dr Brunton: “Having made repeated observations and examinations on (Child D) during the course of the shift which culminated in her death, how would you summarise the evolution of her condition that night?”
He replied: “From when I came in on my night shift there were no particular worries or concerns identified, but by 1.40am to the time of her death she had dramatic deteriorations over different points.
“It was completely unclear to me why that was occurring.”
Mr Driver said: “Why was it unclear?”
Dr Brunton said: “Because I had never seen a baby behave in that manner prior to this and I have never seen a baby behave in that manner after this.”
The Crown say Letby injected a fatal amount of air into Child D’s bloodstream.
She is said to have killed other babies by administering air via a nasogastric tube.
Letby, originally from Hereford, denies the offences said to have been committed between June 2015 and June 2016.
The trial continues on Tuesday.