Meriter nurse under investigation previously fired by UW Hospita - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Meriter nurse under investigation previously fired by UW Hospital; another infant's family concerned

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MADISON (WKOW) - A Meriter Hospital nurse under investigation for unexplained injuries to newborns was previously fired by UW Hospital, as another family expresses concern over his potential actions.

UW Hospital spokesperson Toni Morrissey says the nurse worked in a residency program from July through October 2003, and declines to comment on the reason for his separation from the hospital.  But a source close to the situation says the nurse maintained he was fired over what he said was absenteeism.  Morrissey says the residency program involved the nurse being supervised, and working in collaboration with other nurses.

Online posts indicate the nurse has worked at Meriter Hospital from 2003 to the present.  The nurse was suspended from Meriter Feb. 9, 2018.  Meriter, state and federal officials say since April 2017, five babies in Meriter's neonatal intensive care unit have suffered unexplained bruises, and even fractures.

Meriter spokesperson Jessika Kasten says due to an ongoing investigation into the nurse's actions, she is unable to comment on whether the hospital was aware the nurse had been fired previously.

Pierro Wipperfurth's daughter, Finnley was born at Meriter Hospital, cared for in the hospital's NICU, and suffered an unexplained bruise to her back.  Wipperfurth says he was stunned when learned last month of the investigation into the nurse.  "I flipped out,"  the Madison man tells 27 News.  "Called Madison Police Department instantly."

But Wipperfurth says his child's bruise was noted by a physician and shared with his wife June 9, days after Finnley Wipperfurth's birth.  Wipperfurth says his infant daughter had been transferred to UW Hospital's NICU by the time they were notified.

"UW and Meriter both should have called the police department,"  Wipperfurth says, who notes his wife called Dane County Child Protective Services immediately after learning of the baby's bruising. 

Both Morrissey and Kasten decline comment on the handling of the child's case.

Wipperfurth says county CPS staff members investigated whether there was a parental role in Finnley Wipperfurth's bruising, but stopped there.  "If there was a bruise and it wasn't us, and you've examined us, why isn't some outside party examining them?" Pierro Wipperfurth says.

A spokesperson for Dane County Human Services has yet to respond to a phone call from 27 News.

Wipperfurth says his daughter's brain-related condition that prompted observation in Meriter's NICU continues to be monitored, but now by care providers at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.  He regrets his daughter's bruising was buried in a medical file,  as several other babies in the same unit were injured subsequently.  "I mean, how do those parents feel right now, that I demanded the hospital be investigated for bruises?"  Wipperfurth says.

Federal officials say two infant bruising events in February prompted Meriter officials to examine past episodes for any connection, and tied the nurse to the care of all the children.

Wipperfurth says a Madison Police detective told him there's indication the suspended nurse was not caring for Finnley when the baby was in Meriter's NICU.  "He was not on the clock," Wipperfurth says.

27 News is not identifying the nurse, as his state license to practice remains intact, and no criminal charges have been filed against him.  Someone at the nurse's Madison home declined comment to 27 News.


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