England

Stepping Hill patient may take legal action

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Media captionZubia Aslam: ''I had no control over my body''

A patient poisoned at Stepping Hill Hospital says she is considering taking legal action over her treatment.

Zubia Aslam told the BBC staff had failed to inform her that two patients had died after nurse Victorino Chua injected insulin into medical supplies.

They had become aggressive when, having found out, she refused a second saline drip and had wrongly diagnosed her poisoning as type-2 diabetes, she said.

The hospital said the tampering with supplies could not have been foreseen.

On Tuesday, Chua was given a minimum jail sentence of 35 years after being convicted of murdering two patients and poisoning 20 others at the hospital in Greater Manchester.

Inquests into 11 further deaths at Stepping Hill hospital are now planned.

'Not a priority'

Ms Aslam, 27, told the Victoria Derbyshire programme she was "talking to a solicitor about legal action [against Stepping Hill Hospital]".

On her second night in the hospital, in July 2011, after being admitted for what was later believed to be gastroenteritis, the saline drip used to treat her dehydration had been contaminated by Chua with two syringes of insulin.

"Had that run its eight-hour course, I would have definitely had irreversible brain damage or even death," she said.

She said she believed more could have been done by staff to prevent her from being poisoned.

While hospital staff prevented the further use of ampoules once they discovered the supplies had been tampered with, she believes they should have recalled saline bags at the same time as a precautionary measure.

"When they found out anything was contaminated, they should have checked absolutely everything... and they didn't, and that's what led to so many other poisonings," she said.

Staff 'aggressive'

Ms Aslam told the programme she had only become aware other patients had been poisoned when friends and family contacted her having seen the reports in the media.

It was only because of this contact, she added, that she was able to refuse another saline drip the following morning, when staff recommended its use.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Nurse Victorino Chua has been given a minimum jail sentence of 35 years

"They were almost being quite aggressive with me [in offering the drip]. They cornered me off," she said.

Ms Aslam also said her poisoning had been mistaken for type-2 diabetes, after staff brought in a specialist doctor to see her. "At that point, I completely lost faith," she said.

Ms Aslam said she had not been contacted by Stepping Hill Hospital since being discharged.

"I've not heard from them since. I wanted my medical records, but four years on, I'm still waiting for the forms."

A hospital statement said that "whilst we are aware that genuine mistakes and accidents occur from time to time, the last thing on staff's minds was that a trained nurse would deliberately tamper with medical supplies and drugs".

"People work here to save lives and care for people, and hospitals work on professional integrity and trust," it said.

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