The death of at least 5 newborn babies between May and June in a hospital in the Argentine city of Córdoba has made the news nationwide. There may be more cases, it was reported. Pending investigations, staff at the Maternal Neonatal Dr. Ramón Carrillo Hospital have been relieved from duty.
Post-mortems performed on two of the babies showed large amounts of potassium inconsistent with the possibility of natural death, according to reports, which narrow the prosecutor's options to malpractice of intentional homicide. The hypothesis that there was a hospital virus has waned away. The prosecutor does not rule out that more than 10 deaths have occurred so far this year.
Prosecutor Raúl Garzón handling the case said the newborns were given something as a result of malpractice or intentionally. Now we are investigating to determine what was given to them.
Garzón seized medical records of the deceased from the hospital, among other judiciary procedures. The attorney underlined that the most worrying factor stems from newborns who did not have a common denominator and died; these are the ones that caught our attention.
Córdoba is yet to solve the 2013 death of 18 babies at the private clinic Sanagec, for which 4 doctors have been charged with manslaughter. Sanagec's intensive care unit was suspended for one year and the clinic was ordered to make building modifications to improve the quality of hygienic conditions.
In other similar cases elsewhere, English midwife Donna Ockenden denounced catastrophic failures at the Shrewsbury Hospital and Telford NHS Trust over the last 20 years. She insisted over 200 babies could have survived if the hospital had provided quality care in 70 neonatal deaths and 131 stillbirths. She also reported 29 cases in which babies suffered severe brain injuries and 65 incidents of cerebral palsy.
British media have reported that many of the changes highlighted by Ockenden had already been made.
Also in England, the trial of pediatric nurse Lucy Letby of Arran Avenue, Hereford, is to begin later this year after she was arrested in 2020 for allegedly going on a year-long killing spree between June 2015 and June 2016, when five boys and two girls died. She has also been charged with the attempted murder of other five boys and five girls under her care at the neonatal unit of the Countess of Chester Hospital in Chester.