Parents of triplets ‘begged for baby to be moved to new hospital after brothers died’

·5-min read
Parent of newborn triplets told police: “There is no way he is staying at this hospital”  (Supplied)
Parent of newborn triplets told police: “There is no way he is staying at this hospital” (Supplied)

The parents of a newborn triplet begged for him to be moved to another hospital after his two brothers died within 24 hours, the murder trial of Lucy Letby heard.

Letby, 33, is said to have murdered the infants, Child O and Child P, on successive days at the Countess of Chester Hospital in June 2016 on her return from a week’s holiday in Ibiza.

Child P died as he awaited transfer following a series of unexplained collapses on June 24.

A day earlier Child O was pronounced dead after he too suffered a number of collapses.

The parents of both boys pleaded with a transport ambulance team to take the surviving identical triplet with them on June 24, Manchester Crown Court was told.

Lucy Letby appearing in the dock at Manchester Crown Court (PA Wire)
Lucy Letby appearing in the dock at Manchester Crown Court (PA Wire)

The boys’ father later told police: “While they were there we begged for them to take (the triplet).

“We said ‘There is no way he is staying at this hospital, you’ve got to take him, otherwise we are going to take him ourselves’.”

A doctor on the transport team agreed and the boys’ mother discharged herself after giving birth to them just three days earlier, the court heard.

In a statement read to the court, the boys’ mother said a doctor visited her on the labour ward on June 23 and told her Child O’s stomach had swollen but “there was nothing to worry about”.

Shortly after, she and her partner were greeted with a “scene of chaos” in intensive care nursery room 1, with “lots of medical staff rushing around” the cot of Child O.

She said: “The staff seemed to be in a state of panic and didn’t appear controlled at all.”

She said she sat outside the nursery in her wheelchair as “I couldn’t bring myself to go closer”.

Child O kept arresting, she said, and he “changed colour, which I later saw with (Child P)” before he later died.

She said: “This whole episode had come like a bolt out of the blue. On the face of it everything seemed to be going well for the boys.

“It was never explained to us how this sudden downturn had happened. As a family we were devastated.

“We kept seeking reassurance that the other two boys were OK and the staff said they were fine.”

The following morning they checked on their wellbeing with a night shift nurse who told them they had been “little angels and had fed well”.

Several hours later a midwife came into the family room and said Child P was “really poorly” and they needed to go immediately to the neo-natal unit, she said.

She said: “I was devastated. I called my mum to tell her it was happening again.”

Child P was in nursery room 2 and “everyone was running around again”, she said.

The plan was to transfer Child P to another hospital where more advanced intensive care could be provided, the court heard.

Medics appeared to be trying to stabilise him ahead of the move but he “kept collapsing”, she said.

Following Child P’s death she said, Letby was “extremely upset and emotional”.

The boys’ mother added: “She was in pieces, almost as upset as we were.”

Letby took Child O and Child P in a cooling Moses basket to them before they left Chester, she said.

She had dressed Child P and taken photographs of the boys for a “memory box” that was routinely given to bereaved parents, the court heard.

The boys’ mother said: “She was in floods of tears.”

The boys’ father described the swelling of Child O as “like ET’s stomach, like a pot belly”.

He recalled the child’s veins were “bright blue” and “going different colours”.

“It looked like he had really, really bad prickly heat that got worse,” he said. “It was literally like you can see something through his veins.”

Various lines were put in by medics and drugs given, he said, adding: “I swear to God like at that point they were just trying anything.”

A doctor later told him she could not explain why Child O had died, he said.

“She was quite upset and she was apologetic, saying ‘We did everything we could, we don’t have the answers right now but we will get to the bottom of it’.

“And then, 24 hours later, it was exactly the same thing again.”

He said it was “just like pandemonium” and “absolutely mental” as medics surrounded Child P.

“It was worse than the day before,” he said. “You could see him struggling for life.”

In a statement to the court, the boys’ grandmother said the three boys were “identical in every way”.

She said: “You couldn’t tell them apart unless you checked the hospital tags. Each child had their incubator and they had red, blue and yellow blankets.”

She recalled Letby was “very softly spoken” in her dealings with the family.

She remembered a doctor asking Letby how many “shots” of adrenaline had been given to Child O as he fought for his life.

The grandmother said: “She said ‘I’m not sure, three or four’. And the doctor said something along the lines of ‘Well, what is it, three or four?’

“I could tell the doctor was not impressed with the answer.”

Following Child O’s death she said she thanked Letby for her assistance “during the ordeal”.

Letby, originally from Hereford, denies the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of 10 others between June 2015 and June 2016.

The trial continues on Thursday.