Federal Investigation: Madison hospital failed to act after infant abuse first reported

Federal Investigation: Madison hospital failed to act after infant abuse first reported”

Five newborns UnityPoint Health-Meriter hospital in Madison were found to have injuries ranging from bruising on their arms and legs to a broken arm and even a skull fracture, according to investigators from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

CMS documents show its interviews with nurses and physicians and review of patient files found additional documented concerns about injuries to babies in the NICU going back to April of 2017, with at least one mother taking pictures of unexplained bruises to her child.

A Madison Police Department spokesman said authorities are aware of the allegations and are investigating them, but no arrests have been made.

"We have successfully worked with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to address their most immediate concerns and we continue to work on a longer term corrective action plan for their review", said Jessika Kasten, with UnityPoint Health - Meriter.

"The immediate jeopardy began on April 12, 2017 when the facility failed to protect and thoroughly investigate the first report of an injury of unknown origin for patient #4, placing all patients in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at risk for serious harm or injury", said CMS in the document.

The agency issued an "immediate jeopardy" violation, the most serious kind.

Indeed, UnityPoint Health-Meriter has installed video cameras and assigned a security officer to the NICU, the report said.

In further changes at the hospital each nurse will now care for two patients instead of three in the unit of babies in intensive care.

The hospital said it would connect a "root cause analysis" to prevent similar events.

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Federal officials accepted the hospital's correction plan, but Meriter must fix other problems found in the inspection before CMS will remove the threat of cutting off Medicare business, CMS spokeswoman Elizabeth Schinderle said Thursday.

"We have implemented enhanced safety measures", the statement said, "and our commitment to provide safe care to our patients and families has never been stronger".

A nurse has been suspended and a Wisconsin hospital is under review after five infants suffered unexplained bruises and fractures to their arms, legs and heads, according to a federal inspection report.

A doctor documented the infant's injuries, suspecting that they "may have been from patient clutching wires or peripheral intravenous device arm board used for stabilization", according to the report by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The next day, a Saturday, staff noticed unexplained bruising on the right arm and left wrist of another baby. Another doctor thought it might be from blanket wrapping.

Following this investigation, physicians began to recall other babies who had unexplained bruises in September 2017, April 2017 and a baby in January with rib and arm fractures. The hospital suspended the nurse.

The next day, the hospital reported the nurse to the police and launched an internal investigation in collaboration with child protective services. Review of that patient's medical record on February 19 revealed that on March 12, 2017, nurses observed bruising on the patients calves, ankles and left foot.

The results revealed multiple fractures including rib and arm fractures.

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