Manchester

Stepping Hill Hospital deaths: Victorino Chua 'scapegoat' claims

Victorino Chua walking down street past houses
Image caption Victorino Chua denies he poisoned patients with insulin

A nurse accused of murdering and poisoning hospital patients has told a jury he was a "scapegoat".

Victorino Chua, 49, denies murdering three patients and poisoning 18 others at Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport, between 2011 and 2012.

It is claimed he secretly injected insulin into patients' saline bags.

When accused of being the "common denominator" in all the poisoning incidents, Mr Chua replied: "No. I'm the only one working 66 hours a week."

'No medical reason'

The prosecution alleges the nurse used a syringe to secretly puncture saline drip bags and poison them with insulin between June 2011 and January 2012.

On his second day of questioning at Manchester Crown Court, prosecutor Peter Wright QC pointed to instances when Mr Chua was working and recorded normal observations for patients who were afterwards found to be suffering insulin poisoning.

These included the nightshift of 5 July 2011, when Beryl Hope, 70, was found by the morning shift to be unresponsive, sweating and had "profoundly low" blood sugar levels - evidence of insulin poisoning.

When asked by Mr Wright what caused this, the defendant replied: "I don't know."

Mr Wright then cited Grant Misell, 49, who was admitted on the evening of 11 July.

Mr Chua took a blood sample at 06:00 BST the following morning and recorded the patient as being responsive and alert at 07:00.

Mr Misell was later found to be in a coma and suffered brain damage as a result of insulin poisoning.

The court heard the blood sample was not routinely destroyed and when analysed, it was found Mr Misell's blood sugar level was dangerously low due to a "significant quantity" of insulin in his blood.

He was not diabetic and there was no medical reason for him being given the drug.

'A scapegoat'

Mr Chua, of Churchill Street, Stockport, is also alleged to have tried to give tablets to another patient, Gillian Millar, 49, which had not been prescribed by a doctor but she refused.

Mr Wright said in all these incidents Mr Chua was the only one who was present in all cases or whose shifts coincided with insulin poisoning incidents.

The defendant replied: "No. I'm the only one working 66 hours a week. I'm a scapegoat."

Mr Wright replied: "You are not the scapegoat, you are the person, I suggest, responsible for the contamination of medical products at the hospital."

To which the nurse replied: "No, sir."

Mr Chua denies murdering Tracey Arden, 44, Arnold Lancaster, 71, and Derek Weaver, 83.

The nurse has pleaded not guilty to 37 charges in all, including 25 counts of attempted grievous bodily harm with intent, eight counts of attempting to administer poison and one count of administering poison.

The trial continues.

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