Former NICU Nurse Who Abused Infants Sentenced to 13 Years in Prison
Authorities believe as many as 40 cases of infant abuse may have occurred in the Wisconsin hospital’s NICU.
A former newborn intensive care unit (NICU) nurse at UnityPoint Health-Meriter in Madison, Wisconsin, received a 13-year prison sentence on Friday for physically abusing the infants in his care.
Authorities suspect that Christopher Kaphaem, 44, may have abused as many as 40 victims, but police chose the nine cases that were the most clear cut, reports Madison.com. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison, followed by seven years of extended supervision, reports WKOW.
The criminal complaint against Kaphaem describes a variety of injuries he inflicted on his victims between March 2017 and February 2018, including one infant whose skull, wrist and left humerus were fractured. Several others sustained unexplained bruising.
Kaphaem pleaded guilty last fall to all 19 of the charges he originally faced, including child abuse, child neglect and patient abuse.
He was a nurse for 14 years at Meriter and previously worked at UW Health. UnityPoint Health-Meriter suspended Kaphaem after the abuse was discovered, and his nursing license was suspended by the state, reports Channel 3000.
Kaphaem claimed to have no recollection of the abuse and couldn’t explain his actions.
“If I knew the answer, I’d put that in the [sentencing] memorandum,” said his lawyer, Jonas Bednarek, reports Madison.com. He said it’s possible Kaphaem has “deep-rooted mental health issues.”
Parents of the victims testified that the former NICU nurse’s actions made them afraid to allow anyone other than family members to care for their children, reports WKOW. They said they feel guilty for leaving their children behind every night and that they no longer trust healthcare.
All of the victims have recovered from their physical injuries.
During his sentencing Kaphaem apologized to the parents of the victims and said he felt shame and embarrassment over his behavior.
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