Nurse arrested on suspicion of poisoning baby as probe launched into surge in fatalities at children's hospital

28 August 2023, 08:21

Birmingham Children’s Hospital is home to Britain’s largest paediatric intensive care unit
Birmingham Children’s Hospital is home to Britain’s largest paediatric intensive care unit. Picture: Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

An investigation has been launched following a surge in deaths at Birmingham Children's Hospital.

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The NHS has conducted a review into how patients are treated in the hospital's paediatric intensive care unit, dating back as far as January 2022, with findings now with the police.

An investigation was launched after the sudden unexpected deaths of three children, according to documents seen by The Times.

A nurse was arrested by West Midlands police on suspicion of administering a poison with intent to endanger life in May last year.

Colleagues raised concerns about the nurse after the child deteriorated on May 18 last year. The child died the next day.

The nurse, 28, has been suspended from work and the regulator, meaning she remains unable to work as an investigation continues.

Birmingham Children's Hospital
Birmingham Children's Hospital. Picture: Alamy

"In May 2022, a child on the paediatric intensive care unit at Birmingham Children’s Hospital deteriorated suddenly and unexpectedly," Dr Fiona Reynolds, chief medical officer at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said.

"Due to the circumstances of the deterioration, the trust acted straight away. A member of staff was suspended from work and subsequently arrested at home. Sadly, the child later died and our thoughts remain with the family."

She continued: "The trust immediately followed the standard safeguarding protocol for the sudden unexpected death of a child, and West Midlands police were notified the same day.

"An extensive clinical review of deaths and sudden deteriorations in children on the paediatric intensive care unit has been undertaken by clinicians at the trust.

"Their findings have in turn been reviewed by independent experts and shared with the police."

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West Midlands police have said a nurse remains under investigation.

"The woman was arrested at a property in the West Midlands area on suspicion of administering poison with intent to endanger life," a spokesperson for the police force said.