LONDON (AP) _ Police investigating the suspicious deaths of five patients at a hospital in northern England said Friday that they had charged a 27-year-old nurse in the case.
Police and prosecutors say that Rebecca Leighton endangered the lives of patients at the Stepping Hill Hospital in the town of Stockport, near Manchester, by damaging saline bags, saline ampoules, and unspecified medical products.
Saline is the salt water solution used to deliver intravenous drugs or keep patients hydrated. Depending on how it's used it can be kept in clear plastic bags or smaller glass ampoules.
Authorities didn't say how the bags or ampoules had been tampered with in their statements Friday, but police have previously said that saline at the hospital had been spiked with insulin. Overdosing on insulin can lead to low blood sugar, which in extreme cases can lead to convulsions, coma or death.
Left unclear was how the nurse was alleged to have gone about sabotaging the bags or how she could have done so unnoticed. The alarm was raised last week after a high number of the hospital's patients suffered unexplained low blood sugar levels. Five deaths are being looked into by detectives, as is the condition of a sixth patient, an unidentified man in his 40s.
Although overshadowed by the scandal over phone hacking at Britain's now defunct News of the World tabloid, the hunt for what The Sun dubbed the ``saline serial killer'' has drawn considerable attention in Britain.
Police have said it was likely that more deaths would have to be investigated and prosecutors left open the possibility that more charges would be brought.
Greater Manchester Police said Friday that Leighton faced six counts of intentionally or recklessly endangering life. The police did not make clear whether each count related to separate patients, and in an email exchange said that they were not able to clarify the matter.
Leighton was due to appear in at Manchester Magistrates' Court on Saturday. If found guilty, she could face a life sentence.
英 병원서 '인슐린 연쇄살인' 의혹 사건
(런던=연합뉴스) 이성한 특파원 = 영국의 한 병원에서 생리식염수를 투여받은 5 명의 환자가 잇따라 숨졌다.
잉글랜드 그레이터 맨체스터의 스테핑 힐 병원에서는 지난 7일부터 생리식염수 를 투여받은 입원환자 5명이 잇따라 사망했고 남성 환자 1명은 중환자실에서 치료를 받고 있다.
경찰은 지난주 이 병원의 한 간호사로부터 환자들의 혈당 수준이 비정상적으로 낮다는 신고를 받고 출동해 보관창고에 있던 생리식염수 36개에 인슐린이 주입된 사 실을 밝혀냈다.
경찰은 인슐린이 주사된 생리식염수를 맞은 환자들이 저혈당으로 인한 쇼크 등 으로 숨진 것으로 보고 지금까지 밝혀진 5명 이외에 추가 피해 여부를 확인하고 있 다.
경찰은 이 병원의 간호사 레베카(27)를 살인혐의로 체포하고 자택에 대한 압수 수색을 벌였으나 아직 혐의 사실이나 범행 동기 등을 정확히 규명하지 못하고 있다 고 BBC는 보도했다.