London

Police investigating two baby deaths in London

St Thomas' Hospital
Image caption The two babies died on 1 June and 10 June at St Thomas' Hospital

The deaths of two babies at St Thomas' Hospital in London are the subject of a criminal investigation by the Metropolitan Police.

The investigation into the deaths in June is focusing on the production of intravenous feeds.

Officers have been liaising with Cambridgeshire Police about a third baby who died in what the Met called "similar circumstances".

NHS trust staff are not part of the inquiry, the police have said.

The third death occurred at the Rosie Maternity Hospital, Cambridge.

The Met investigation into the two baby deaths in London was launched on Thursday after consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service.

The Met said it was not investigating the trusts involved and was working with "a number of agencies" to progress its inquiries.

Blood poisoning

The families of the two babies have been informed of the investigation.

Public Health England (PHE) said in June that 22 babies were being treated for blood poisoning in connection with a suspected contamination of hospital feed.

All the infected babies were being fed a liquid mixture of nutrients directly into their bloodstream, which happens when newborns are unable to eat on their own.

PHE said the babies developed septicaemia or blood poisoning from the Bacillus cereus bacterium, which has been "strongly linked" to an intravenous fluid supplied by ITH Pharma.

Many of the babies were premature.

Nine-day-old Yousef Al-Kharboush died from the suspected contaminated hospital feed, at St Thomas' Hospital, on Sunday 1 June.

The second baby was not named.


What is Bacillus cereus?

Image copyright Blair Seitz
Image caption The Bacillus cereus bacterium is present on most surfaces and can contaminate food
  • A type of bacterium that produces toxins that cause two types of illness
  • The most common form causes nausea and vomiting
  • The symptoms may start one to six hours after eating contaminated food
  • It is commonly found in dust, soil and vegetation and is likely to be on most surfaces
  • The poison is not passed from one person to another and symptoms do not usually last longer than a day
  • Less common is an illness which causes fever and diarrhoea
  • These symptoms, which may be serious, usually start six to 24 hours after eating and can last for one or two days

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