Hospital deaths probe continues
Friday 22 July 2011
Police have named the fifth patient whose death at the hospital at the centre of sabotage allegations is being investigated by police.
Vera Pearson, 84, died on July 14 at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, Greater Manchester.
Her case was referred to detectives by a coroner earlier this week because of her low blood sugar level.
Police say saline solution at the hospital was contaminated with insulin, which can cause low blood sugar.
The pensioner's family said they wanted to be left alone to grieve in peace.
She was not among the tally of 14 patients who police initially believed had been affected by a batch of 36 saline vials sabotaged with insulin.
Police are also looking at the suspicious deaths of Tracey Arden, 44, Arnold Lancaster, 71, George Keep, 84, and Derek Weaver, 83.
Detectives have until 9.05pm tonight to question Stepping Hill nurse Rebecca Leighton, 27, on suspicion of murder before they must decide whether to charge her, release her from custody or apply for extra time to detain her - possibly up until Sunday morning.
On Wednesday, officers arrested Miss Leighton at her flat in Heaviley, Stockport, which is a mile away from the hospital.
The alarm was raised last week when an experienced nurse reported a higher than normal number of patients on her ward with "unexplained" low blood sugar levels, pointing to saline containers being sabotaged.
Police found the contaminated batch in a store room close to wards A1 and A3 of the hospital.
It was reported today that South Manchester Coroner John Pollard will now review all deaths at the hospital since July 7, with all future deaths also referred to him.
Greater Manchester Police has admitted it was "likely" it will be asked to investigate further deaths by the coroner.
Assistant Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said it was part of the coroner's "belt and braces approach" to ensure that all cases with potential links to the inquiry were appropriately investigated and scrutinised.
He added there had been no further incidents of deliberate contamination at the hospital since the police were called in and security was stepped up.
Detectives continue to focus on preventing further harm at the hospital and once that is done they will look at any cases before July 7.
Mr Weaver, from Stockport, died yesterday after suffering a hypoglycaemic episode on July 11 - a day after he was admitted from his interim care home with breathing problems.
Multiple sclerosis sufferer Ms Arden, of Heaviley, died on July 7. Retired photographer Mr Lancaster, of Romiley, died on July 11, while Mr Keep, of Cheadle, died on July 14 after being admitted to the hospital with a broken hip.
The results of further pathology tests to find out if insulin contributed to the fatalities are still awaited and the families involved have been forced to postpone funerals.
A man in his 40s, who was part of the original pool of 14 patients thought to have been affected, remains "very poorly" in a critical care unit at Stepping Hill.
Nine other patients are thought to have recovered from their symptoms.
Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando
First full-length look is finally here
World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Mia Khalifa: Pornhub star claims Drake sent her 'cringeworthy' naked photos on Instagram
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope