world : Switching off life support was 'hardest decision', mum tells Letby trial

world : Switching off life support was 'hardest decision', mum tells Letby trial
world : Switching off life support was 'hardest decision', mum tells Letby trial

Thursday 13 June 2024 10:31 PM

Nafeza 2 world - The mother of a newborn baby who was allegedly the victim of a murder attempt by Lucy Letby said deciding to switch off her daughter's life support was "the hardest decision of her life".

She was giving evidence at Manchester Crown Court during the retrial of Letby for an attempt on the infant's life.

Although the prosecution alleges Letby tried to murder the baby - known as Baby K - by dislodging her breathing tube on 17 February 2016 at the Countess of Chester hospital, it does not claim she was responsible for her death.

Letby, 34, denies the attempted murder of Baby K.

Baby K was born "extremely premature" and weighed just 1lb 8oz (692g).

After she became unwell at the Countess of Chester within hours of her birth, she was transferred to Arrowe Park hospital in Wirral.

In a witness statement read to the court on Thursday, Baby K's mother said she was lying awake in the family accommodation area at Arrowe Park in the early hours of 20 February when she said had the "strangest feeling which I cannot begin to describe".

Her husband was also awake, she said, and they both went to see Baby K.

She said: "As we walked into the room I could see the monitors and sats (oxygen saturation) readings were low. I knew straight away things weren't great.

"The doctor confirmed the worst. I asked if it was just a waiting game now or if she was going to get better. We had a long conversation and she said what happens next was entirely our decision.

"I remember saying to the doctor that she had been poked and prodded from the moment she was born.

"Her tiny little delicate body had swollen up so much we didn't want her to be suffering any more.

"We didn’t want to be informed that we'd lost our little girl by alarms on the machines going off. We didn't want to prolong things any more.

"We made the decision together to switch off the machines and let her go. It was by far the hardest decision of my life.

"One of the staff showed us to a family room where it was peaceful and quiet. Our daughter was wrapped in a blanket and was wearing a little hat.

"Our daughter was in my husband's arms when she took her last breath and silently passed away."

Within two hours of Baby K's birth, Letby, originally of Hereford, was said to have been "caught virtually red-handed" by a senior consultant paediatrician.

Jurors heard he had seen Letby standing over the cot "doing nothing" as Child K's blood oxygen levels dipped and alarms were not sounding as they should have done.

The prosecution alleges Letby went on to interfere with Baby K's breathing tube twice more on the same night shift in an bid to create the impression with her colleagues that the infant was habitually dislodging her own tube.

She died there three days later.

The jury has been told about Letby's convictions last year for the murder of seven babies and the attempted murder of six others.

The retrial continues.

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