Two die after sabotage in intensive care unit

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The Independent Online
TWO PATIENTS died after their life-support equipment was sabotaged in the intensive care unit of a general hospital, police said yesterday, writes Jonathan Foster.

Vital apparatus sustaining three other patients was also tampered with in the four-bed unit in a total of 16 'suspicious incidents' under investigation by detectives.

A nurse was suspended from Bassetlaw Hospital, at Worksop, Nottinghamshire, in January. The incidents had taken place over the previous three months.

Detective Superintendent Peter Coles, heading the inquiry, said: 'Two patients have died, but we cannot read anything into that. Because of the nature of the intensive care unit, numbers of patients do unfortunately die.

'Whether the two in this case died in connection with the incidents, I honestly do not know.' Detailed statements had been taken from between 30 and 40 staff and patients, but none had been arrested or cautioned, he said.

Incidents under investigation are believed to include a case in which the setting on a ventilator was changed from the correct level for an adult to one suitable for a child. Syringe drivers were also tampered with, altering the rate at which medication was drip-fed to patients. 'I am not making any comments about the five patients as I have not identified them to their families,' Det Supt Coles said.