Lifestyle & Belief

U.K. nurse charged over five patient deaths

A young U.K. nurse, Rebecca Leighton, has been charged with several offenses over the deaths of five of her hospital patients.

The 27-year-old is due to appear in court today on six counts of causing damage with intent to endanger life or being reckless as to whether life was being endangered, BBC reports.

She faces life in jail if convicted of the most serious of the charges which center around an allegation of poisoning her patients with insulin, the U.K.'s Mirror website reports.

She allegedly tampered with medical products, saline ampoules and saline bags at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, northern England.

Leighton is also accused of stealing medicine from the hospital, BBC says.

She was arrested following an investigation into the deaths of Tracey Arden, 44, Arnold Lancaster, 71, George Keep, 84, Derek Weaver, 83, and Vera Pearson, 84.

All five patients died in July after being admitted to the hospital.

Police said saline solution at the hospital had been contaminated with insulin, which can cause low blood sugar.

A 41-year-old man remains critically ill in hospital.

Police are also looking at the treatment of several other patients since 7 July, BBC says.

Nazir Afzal, chief crown prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service North West, said she faces "serious charges" that relate to allegations she "tampered with medical products, saline ampoules and saline bags in Stepping Hill Hospital and by doing so endangered the lives of patients.”

Fourteen patients at the hospital were allegedly given the tainted saline solution, Sky News reports.

The nine other patients who were allegedly affected by the tampered medication recovered, including one woman who had a seizure after the contaminated saline was directly injected into a drip she was hooked up to.

Leighton, from Heaviley in Stockport, she describes herself on Facebook as a "happy go lucky kinda gal," Sky News reports.