Manchester

Stepping Hill: Victorino Chua patient 'feared' she was dying

Victorino Chua
Image caption Victorino Chua denies murdering three patients

A pensioner told police she thought she was dying after an alleged poisoning by a nurse accused of murdering patients, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Josephine Walsh rapidly became ill after using a saline drip allegedly contaminated with insulin by staff nurse Victorino Chua.

Mr Chua, 49, denies murdering three patients and poisoning 18 others at Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport.

It is claimed he secretly injected insulin into saline bags.

The bags were used by "unsuspecting" nurses while treating patients on wards A1 and A3 at the hospital, the jury was told.

Mrs Walsh suddenly fell unconscious on 27 June 2011, the day she was due to be discharged.

The prosecution asserts her hypoglycaemic episode was due to insulin poisoning - which can cause the body's blood sugar to drop dangerously low, leading to coma, brain damage and even death.

'Scary episode'

In a video interview shown in court, Mrs Walsh told a police officer she thought she was "on the way out".

"Nothing like that had ever happened to me before, I had never passed out and went dizzy. It was just scary, I thought I was going to die," she said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The alleged offences took place at Stepping Hill Hospital from June 2011 to January 2012

The last thing she remembered was sitting in a chair next to the bed, with perspiration "just dripping off me" at 09:45.

She recalled: "The next thing I knew, I woke up and looked up at the ceiling and thought, 'What's going on? What's happening to me?"'

Mrs Walsh came round nearly 15 hours later when her daughter, Jacqueline Peg, visited. She gave her Lucozade which the pensioner drank and began to "come back slowly".

Mrs Walsh, who was admitted for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, was not diabetic and further tests by specialists could find "no medical explanation" for her hypoglycaemic episode.

'Poisoning pattern'

Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, has told the jury detectives discovered Mr Chua was the "common denominator" for a pattern of poisonings.

The father-of-two, from Stockport, denies 36 charges including three alleged murders, one count of grievous bodily harm with intent, 23 counts of attempted grievous bodily harm, eight counts of attempting to cause a poison to be administered and one count of administering a poison.

Peter Griffiths QC, defending, has described his client as a "scapegoat". He claims Mrs Walsh's illness, along with other patients' difficulties, was due to natural causes.

Mr Chua changed his methods when security measures were put in place after the spate of poisonings, the court has heard, by allegedly altering patient medical notes to increase the dosage of various drugs.

The alleged offences happened between June 2011 and January 2012.

The trial is expected to last up to four months.

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