A nurse in the central city of Córdoba has been arrested in connection with the deaths of at least two otherwise healthy babies born in a hospital, a prosecutor said Saturday.
Brenda Agüero, 27, was arrested Friday by order of prosecutor Raúl Garzón, who is investigating the deaths of five newborns at the Hospital Materno Neonatal Ministro Dr. Ramón Carillo (Ramón Carrillo Maternity and Neonatal Hospital in Córdoba) in Córdoba, 435 miles (700 kilometres) northwest of the capital.
Garzón told local media that the nurse, who had worked at the hospital since December 2020, has been charged with the murder of two babies pending review of the medical records of three other infants.
"The babies died because a substance found in their bodies was incompatible with life," Garzón said, adding that an excess of potassium was discovered.
In addition, he said, eight other newborns were sickened but did not die.
Garzón said the deceased babies were born healthy, and their mothers' health was good at the time of delivery.
The deaths occurred between March and June, but the case came to light only after the grandmother of a baby who died June 6 filed a complaint.
Garzón said there were "reasons to presume" the suspect's responsibility.
The nurse is one of nine people suspended from their duties earlier this month after an investigation was opened to determine whether the deaths were due to homicide, negligence or malpractice.
Three former hospital officials have been charged with failure to carry out official duties.
"We are devastated as a family," Raúl Aragon, the father of one of the dead infants, told the Cadena 3 de Córdoba. radio station.
"We were trying to overcome and mourn a natural death, and now we learn that they took our son from us – that they killed him."
The prosecutor has also charged three former directors of the hospital with failing to carry out their duties of a public official, a crime that does not qualify for pre-trial detention.