A former Wisconsin nurse facing multiple charges after nine infants suffered serious injuries from March 2017 to February, including broken bones and bruising while allegedly in his care, has been identified.
Christopher Kaphaem, 43, is charged with 19 felonies, including seven counts of child abuse, seven counts of patient abuse causing bodily harm, two counts of patient neglect causing bodily harm, two counts of child neglect causing bodily harm, and one count of child abuse causing great bodily harm, the Wisconsin State Journal reports.
Kaphaem, a nurse at UnityPoint Health-Meriter Hospital in Madison, was reportedly suspended from the medical facility February 8, with his license suspended the following month. He is accused of abusing infants, including those born prematurely and as young as 27-weeks-old.
One baby sustained a skull fracture, while others suffered “tissue damage from IV fluid leaking into their skin,” bruising and broken bones, according to a criminal complaint obtained by the newspaper.
An investigation into the hospital initially began after parents and hospital employees discovered two children with injuries, according to Wisconsin Public Radio. Staff apparently worried that the facility’s equipment may have been to blame at the time.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, the hospital faced heavy scrutiny after they didn’t respond immediately after one of the infants was injured in April 2017.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the hospital “failed to develop and implement an effective policy to prevent, screen, identify, train, protect, thoroughly investigate, report, and respond to any allegations of suspected abuse related to injuries or unknown origin.”
One of the incidents occurred in January 2018, followed by two separate incidents in February. The hospital contacted authorities on February 8, after a CT scan revealed a baby had a fractured skull.
The hospital subsequently received an “immediate jeopardy” citation in March. While UnityPoint Health-Meriter risked losing Medicare contracts, a June inspection showed the facility to be in compliance with Medicare rules.
A motive in the alleged crimes is not known at this time. However, a patient’s father told detectives that he previously had a “negative interaction” with the suspect after he notified Kaphaem that his daughter’s bed was wet. Another parent said that the man “had made statements” regarding her son “being fussy and crying.”
Further, hospital staff allege that the former nurse “ignored patient alarms, closed the door when conducting care exams and did exams in dim light.”
One staff member in particular said the suspect enjoyed working with infants “because he would not have to deal with the patients talking back to him.
— Tony Galli (@galli_wkow) September 28, 2018
Kaphaem appeared in court Thursday but was later released on a signature bond. He’s due back in court October 15. In the meantime, a judge ordered the suspect to have no contact with victims, victim’s families, or Meriter Hospital.
This is a developing story. CrimeOnline will provide further updates as information becomes available.
[Feature photo: Christopher Kaphaem/Dane County Sheriff’s Office]