Suspended NICU nurse in Wisconsin charged with abuse goes to trial

A suspended nurse at Madison, Wis.-based UnityPoint Health-Meriter Hospital charged with 19 felony counts of child abuse is heading to trial, CBS-affiliated television station WISC reports.

Christopher Kaphaem, 43, is charged with multiple counts of intentional child abuse and abuse of a patient causing great bodily harm in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.

Nine babies born at Meriter were abused from March 2017 to February 2018, court records show. Mr. Kaphaem worked inside the hospital's NICU during this time. 

Mr. Kaphaem was in court for his preliminary hearing Dec. 19 and stood silent while a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf. The judge found probable cause to proceed with a trial.

Hospital officials discovered unexplained bruises on babies in February and began investigating the nurse's activities.

An earlier CMS investigation found five babies had injuries, such as bruising, broken bones and a skull fracture. A criminal investigation revealed more victims. 

Mr. Kaphaem was suspended from the hospital after the investigations, and Wisconsin suspended his nursing license. Meriter officials said he no longer works for the hospital. 

Court records do not indicate when Mr. Kaphaem will appear in court next. 

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