Nurse Charged With Injuring Infants at Intensive Care Unit

Injuries included broken bones and bruises
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 27, 2018 7:43 PM CDT
Nurse Charged With Injuring Infants at Intensive Care Unit
Christopher Kaphaem   (Dane County Sheriff's Office via AP)

Wisconsin prosecutors charged a former nurse Thursday with abusing multiple infants in a Madison hospital's intensive care unit, the AP reports, accusing him of bruising them and breaking their bones. Christopher Kaphaem faces 19 felony child abuse counts involving nine infants. All but one of the counts carries a maximum sentence of six years in prison. The 19th count, intentional child abuse causing great bodily harm, carries a maximum 25 years behind bars. According to the criminal complaint, police began investigating reports of injuries to infants in UnityPoint Health-Meriter Hospital's infant intensive care unit in February. Hospital staff had documented an array of injuries to nine infants, including bruising, broken ribs, broken legs, and a fractured skull. Kaphaem, 43, inflicted the injuries between March 2017 and February of this year, according to the complaint.

Investigators keyed on Kaphaem, who worked the night shift in the unit, after other nurses told them that he had cared for the babies. They said Kaphaem often closed the door to the infants' rooms when he checked on them, ignored alarms, never asked for help and once said he was happy to work with infants because he didn't have to deal with patients talking back to him. The complaint doesn't indicate whether investigators ever spoke with Kaphaem or discuss a possible motive. Meriter suspended Kaphaem on Feb. 8, and state regulators suspended his license on March 19. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services inspected the hospital in February, days after it suspended Kaphaem and issued a scathing report saying the facility didn't do enough to prevent the injuries.

(More Wisconsin stories.)

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