A Wisconsin nurse has been suspended after five newborn babies were found with suspicious fractures and bruises.
The nurse, whose name has been withheld, was reportedly the one in charge of the injured infants who were staying at the newborn intensive care unit of UnityPoint Health-Meriter hospital in Madison.
An internal investigation revealed that the hospital first received reports of suspected abuse in 2017 and in January, 2108. However, doctors dismissed the allegations and claimed that the bruises on the babies at that time were incurred when an infant clutches wire or an IV device, the New York Post reported.
Suspicions were then raised after hospital staff noticed two babies with visible bruises on their skin on February 2. The following day, staff discovered bruising on the arm and wrist of another baby.
Despite all the speculations, a doctor was convinced that the bruises were caused by a tightly wrapped blanket.
Evidence of the apparent abuse was also discovered on another infant’s face on February 4. Apparently, the baby has visible bruises on his face and incurred a lump on his head three days later.
A CT scan conducted on February 8 revealed that the injured baby suffered skull and arm fractures.
Interestingly, all injured babies were assigned to the same nurse. Shortly after the injuries were revealed, the suspected nurse was suspended.
The duration of her suspension was not disclosed. It also remains unclear if she will face any legal charges.
Meanwhile, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has expressed dismay with the hospital’s response to the incident. They also threatened to cancel the hospital’s government funding, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
In a letter sent by the agency to UnityPoint Health-Meriter hospital, they reiterated that the situation “is so serious that it constitutes an immediate threat to patient health safety.”
They also determined that the hospital failed to “develop and implement effective policy to prevent suspected abuse related to injuries of unknown origin for patients in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit.”
Jessika Kasten, a Meriter hospital spokeswoman, says the hospital is actively cooperating with authorities and has implemented new safety measures, including a security guard in each newborn unit.
They also installed security cameras in all of its rooms. In addition, each nurse will now care for two babies instead of three in the newborn intensive care unit.
The Madison Police Department is currently investigating the incidents.