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Mother of infant in Meriter NICU shares her story

(NBC15)
Published: Mar. 13, 2018 at 10:29 PM CDT
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An investigation was launched last month into the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Unity Point Health Meriter Hospital.

According to a federal report released last week, five infants from April of 2017 to last month had injuries ranging from bruising to skull fractures.

Renee Hanson's son Carter was in the facility for seven weeks this Fall. She said she reached out to Meriter to see if the nurse in question cared for her son during his treatment.

"They told me that they are going to get in touch with the correct individual who can look through all of the records and make sure that this person didn't take care of him or if he had," said Hanson.

During Carter's stay, his mother noticed bruises on the bottom of his feet. She said Meriter staff told her it was normal for infants in the NICU.

"My son, he had an IV in his head at one point and he had bruises on the bottom of his feet from doing checkups. Those are normal for babies in the NICU. So, when the original stuff came out that these were the injuries. Meriter said these are normal for tests that we do."

The minor signs of injury that she was told is common led her to wonder if there are more cases of unreported abuse.

"I wonder if there's other babies out there that haven't, at the time, they didn't know what to look for and maybe this person got away with it then," said Hanson. "That's where I kind of worry about- other children that haven't come to light yet."

Though her time at the NICU was often filled with uncertainty, she feels the care her son had was exceptional.

"I was happy with the care we had. We have a healthy baby because of it and we wouldn't be here without them."

When asked, she said she would go back to the Meriter NICU again.

"I'm a huge believer in you can't punish the masses for the actions of one. I do believe they have to be held accountable to some degree."

Hanson said Meriter has been open and honest in their communication with families.

"As soon as it came out they addressed the families of the NICU. There's a group on Facebook that, there's several hundred members and they told us right away that this is what happened and we're really devastated to hear that this is going on."

Meriter released a statement regarding the child abuse investigation. It states they are implementing enhanced safety measures to ensure patient safety. Those safety measures include installing video cameras in all NICU rooms, having two staff members in the room at all times, mandatory education, and a security guard posted at the NICU entrance.

The hospital has also opened a hotline for concerns or questions. The number for the hotline is 608-417-5270.

Madison Police are still investigating the incidents at Meriter Hospital.