German nurse ‘poisoned babies with morphine’
Frankfurt am Main: A nurse in Germany has been arrested on suspicion of poisoning five premature babies with morphine, police said Thursday, adding that the infants had survived.
The woman was taken into custody on Wednesday after investigators found a syringe containing breast milk and traces of morphine in her locker at Ulm University Hospital in southern Germany.
The babies, who were between one day and five weeks old and staying in the same hospital room, all suddenly developed breathing problems “at almost the same time” in the early hours of December 20, Ulm police chief Bernhard Weber said.
“Only because of immediate action taken by the staff could the five lives be saved,” he told a press conference.
Doctors do not expect the infants to suffer any lasting harm.
The young nurse taken into custody has yet to be formally charged but faces five counts of attempted manslaughter and grievous bodily harm, Ulm prosecutor Christof Lehr told reporters.
She denies poisoning the babies, he added.
Hospital staff initially suspected the infants had caught an infection, “but this could be ruled out after urine tests”, police chief Weber said.
The tests did however show traces of morphine -- although two of the babies had not been prescribed the heavy painkiller as part of their care.
The hospital notified the police on January 17. - AFP

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