Hospital Didn't Look Into Baby's Bruising Until 4 More Injured

Federal report finds Wisconsin hospital didn't do enough to protect its youngest patients
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2018 3:49 PM CST
Hospital Didn't Look Into Baby's Bruising Until 4 More Injured
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A baby in the newborn intensive care unit of a Wisconsin hospital was found with unexplained bruising last April, the Wisconsin State Journal reports. A investigation wasn't launched until 10 months later. In that time, investigators found, another four newborns suffered injuries ranging from bruising to bone fractures. Now the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is threatening to cancel its contract with UnityPoint Health-Meriter in Madison because the hospital didn't do enough to keep its patients safe, according to the BBC. A report from the federal agency concluded Meriter “failed to develop and implement an effective policy to prevent, screen, identify, train, protect, thoroughly investigate, report, and respond to any allegations of suspected abuse related to injuries of unknown origin."

An investigation into injuries to newborns at Meriter wasn't launched until last month. Babies with bruising on their arms were discovered Feb. 2 and Feb. 3. The second baby was found with bruising on its face Feb. 4 and a lump on its head Feb. 7. A CT scan Feb. 8 revealed skull and arm fractures, at which point a child abuse expert was called, WISC reports. Police were notified and an investigation finally launched Feb. 9. The investigation revealed two babies with unexplained injuries in 2017 and another in January. A nurse who had cared for the babies was suspended Feb. 8 and is being investigated by police. Meriter says it's implementing a new safety plan, including a security guard in the newborn unit, cameras in every room, and a decrease in the number of babies each nurse supervises. (Read more child abuse stories.)

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