Via Deutsche Welle

A nurse is being investigated on suspicion of attempted manslaughter after morphine was given to five premature babies at a hospital in southern Germany, police said Wednesday.

Investigators said the woman was on duty at the Ulm University Medical Center when, in the early hours of December 20, five newborns suddenly began to experience life-threatening breathing difficulties.

Fortunately, the babies received swift medical attention and were not expected to suffer any further health problems.

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Morphine mixed with milk

The hospital said it alerted police after urine tests revealed the babies had ingested the strong painkiller morphine. At least two of the newborns hadn’t been given the drug as part of their emergency care, police said.

Authorities then searched the lockers of hospital staff who were on duty at the time of the incident. During their investigations, they allegedly found a syringe containing breast milk among the nurse’s possessions. Forensic testing showed the syringe had been laced with morphine, police said.

Formal charges are yet to be laid, but the suspect is being investigated for five counts of attempted manslaughter and grievous bodily harm.

Police and the clinic are due to give more details at press conferences scheduled for Thursday.

nm/se (AFP, dpa)

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