Clinical Negligence & Catastrophic Injury Solicitors
Court hears allegations against nurse.
A male nurse murdered three patients by putting poison in saline drips and leaving them as ‘ticking time bombs’ for other medical staff to administer, a court has been told.
Filipino Nurse, Victorino Chua, 49, is alleged to have poisoned 21 people ‘at random’ by putting insulin into drips then waiting for other nurses and doctors to unwittingly give them to patients. One of the survivors was left with a serious brain injury.
A pattern emerged and Chua was ‘the common denominator’ in all the cases, the jury at Manchester Crown Court heard.
Prosecutor Peter Wright QC said it was a ‘lottery’ which patients were harmed because the drips were unknowingly administered by others. ‘In the vast majority of cases, the poisoner seems to have contaminated products completely at random,’ he said.
As the victims became critically ill, Chua is said to have covered up his ‘handiwork’ by falsely recording that they were fine. In one case, he claimed a victim was ‘comfortable’ when were actually close to death after being poisoned with insulin.
Mr Wright said Chua’s motive was hard to determine, adding that ‘only the person responsible could ever know why they would embark on such conduct’. The nurse had ‘turned from a man who had dedicated his life to caring for others, to harming them.’
Chua faces 36 charges concerning the alleged poisoning campaign that spread panic through the NHS Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport, between summer 2011 and January 2012.
They include the murders of Tracey Arden, 44, Arnold Lancaster, 71, and Derek Weaver, 83, none of whom recovered after allegedly being poisoned with insulin.
Chua is also accused of altering drug dosages, in one case putting an 86-year-old’s life at risk by changing her prescription chart after arguing with her daughter about her care.
The jury heard Chua increased the amount of medication meant for Maria Pawlyszyn after her daughter demanded she be put on a heart monitor.
The married father of two, who came to Britain in 2002, worked on two wards, A1 and A3, where several patients were found to have unexplained low blood sugar during a three-week period.
Staff initially assumed a batch of saline used for administering medication and flushing out cannulas had accidentally become contaminated with insulin but police were called when it became clear a poisoner could have been at work.
When interviewed, Chua expressed concern that the room in which medication was stored was not kept locked, Mr Wright said.
He added that the nurse’s shifts fitted the pattern of unexpected hypoglaecemic episodes suffered by 21 patients on wards A1 and A3 in June and July 2011.
The jury heard Chua recorded that Grant Misell, 41, was doing fine even though he was dangerously ill and had insulin in his blood. The patient was later found to have suffered ‘catastrophic’ brain damage.