A nurse at a hospital in Germany was arrested on suspicion of giving morphine to five young infants in late January. She was recently released from custody after new testing showed that prosecutors were incorrect in their original judgement, according to an Associated Press report published Tuesday.
The five infants, who were between one day and one month old, all had trouble breathing on the morning of Dec. 20 at the University Hospital in the city of Ulm, part of southwestern Germany. Hospital staff managed the children’s condition and are not expected to suffer long-term health problems, according to AP.
The hospital immediately contacted police after finding traces of morphine in the children’s urine. Investigators felt at the time the painkiller was likely administered during the night shift of Dec. 20 and questioned medical staff who were on the clock at the time. (RELATED: Germany Tells Jews Not To Wear Kippahs To Avoid Discrimination, Drawing International Ire)
Investigators also found a syringe possibly full of breast milk in a locker at the ward belonging to one of the nurses. The test ruled that the fluid contained morphine, reportedly leading to the nurse’s arrest Wednesday.
Both a new sample from the mother, whose milk was in the syringe, and a solvent with the original liquid sample tested positive for morphine, Prosecutor Christof Lehr said Tuesday, according to AP. Authorities subsequently asked investigators in the adjacent state of Bavaria to undergo new experiments on the samples. The solvent tested positive, but the more recent tests showed the milk contained no morphine, not even traces.
A test also found no traces of the nurse’s DNA on a morphine bottle in the ward, Lehr said. The nurse was released on Sunday evening after spending four days in custody, something that Lehr reportedly expressed “regret” for.