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article image17 people poisoned in UK hospital

By Kathleen Blanchard     Oct 17, 2011 in Crime
UK police have concluded that 17 people were poisoned by insulin contamination of saline solution at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, UK. Investigators still don't know who did it, or who had access to medical supplies.
Last month, Rebecca Leighton, RN, was held in custody and subsequently dubbed “The Angel of Death”. She was suddenly released due to insufficient evidence. Now she is suing for defamation of character. She was also accused of stealing opiates.
Police are now trying to understand how those 16 people were poisoned, after looking at 42 potential victims. Nine other possible poisonings are still under investigation.
The Greater Manchester Police began an investigation at the Stepping Hill Hospital in July, 2011, following reports from a staff nurse of low blood sugar levels in patients at the hospital.
Three possible victims, Tracey Arden, 44, Arnold Lancaster, 71, and Alfred Derek Weaver, 83 are dead from receiving insulin, used to treat diabetes.
Tracey Arden died on July 7, 2011. She had multiple sclerosis, and Lancaster expired July 11. He was a retired photographer.
Weaver died from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), a day after being admitted to the hospital, according to BBC news sources.
So far, police know someone at the hospital was inappropriately administering insulin to the patients by putting it in the saline solution, causing the low blood sugars. Insulin was injected into saline, according to Sky News.
Saline solution is used to dilute and give drugs intramuscularly or intravenously, alone or with drug additives. In hospitals it is supplied in vials and in larger bags for intravenous drips.
There are now 17 separate cases of poisoning at Stepping Hill Hospital. Police are conducting large scale interviews with patients and visitors while they keep a close watch on comings and goings.
In September, milk was found to be contaminated with bleach. One patient drank a “small amount” and was unharmed. The incident was not linked to the current poisonings.
A spokesperson for Stepping Hill Hospital said: "We are aware of the number of cases currently being investigated and continue to work with the police to ensure that they can carry out their investigation as efficiently and effectively as possible."
The Mail Online, UK says there is evidence that someone tampered with the saline solution. Two different sets of fingerprints have been found. The question is, “Who had access to medical supplies.”
Investigators aren’t sure who tampered with the saline solution that caused the poisonings. They also haven’t determined if other factors may have contributed to the demise of the 3 patients at Stepping Hill Hospital. There are now 17 poisonings linked to contaminated saline and nine more potential victims under investigation.
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