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MADISON, WI – a nurse has been suspended after five infants were discovered with a variety of injuries including a fractured skull, rib and arm.

An unnamed nurse at UnityPoint Meriter hospital has been suspended after being suspected of causing serious injuries to at least five babies at the hospital’s newborn intensive care unit.

The first case of possible abuse was in April of last year, with another being reported that same year and another this January. None of these injuries were shown to a child abuse expert and explained away by the hospital.

Then in February, another report of abuse came in after a nurse noticed bruising on the arm of an infant. Like the cases reported the year before, doctor’s determined the injuries were not from abuse.

In this case, the arm injuries were explained as possibly being caused by the baby “clutching wires or peripheral intravenous device arm board used for stabilization.”

The next day, another infant was found with unidentified bruising. This time a doctor said it may have been caused by tightly wrapped blankets. The following day, a nurse found the baby had unexplained bruising on the face.

Three days after that, a lump was discovered on the side of the infant’s head. A CT scan would reveal the baby was suffering from a skull and arm fracture — so the tightly wrapped blanket theory went right out the window.

Also tossed out the window was a specific nurse’s badge access and her access to electronic medical records after she was suspended.

The hospital, in collaboration with Child Protective Services, began an internal investigation that led to a federal agency threatening to cancel the hospital’s Medicare contract.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the Center for Clinical Standards and Quality/Survey & Certification Group determined the hospital did not do enough to protect patient rights and prevent suspected abuse.

In response, UnityPoint Health will no longer be able to bill Medicare and Medicaid Services on or after May 24. This is going to hurt the hospital financially. Like, reaaalllly hurt. Patient revenue across all UnityPoint Health hospitals last year was $2.8 billion. Just under $1 billion of that came from Medicare and Medicaid.

The hospital is trying to get their billing capabilities back by requiring all NICU providers and staff to be trained about policies and procedures for abuse and neglect reporting and caregiver misconduct reporting.

They’ve also increased patient monitoring by supervisors, require two people will be present during all patient-care activities, and require each nurse to care for two patients instead of three.

The Madison Police Department is investigating the abuse allegations and have not released any other information.

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