Still no charges, arrests in NICU injuries case at Meriter

While Madison, Wis.-based UnityPoint Health-Meriter suspended a nurse under investigation for infant abuse allegations in February, no arrests or charges have been made, according to the Madison State Journal.

Here are five things to know:

1. Wisconsin's Division of Legal Services and Compliance launched an investigation into the nurse Feb. 15 after five babies at Meriter's neonatal intensive care unit suffered various unexplained injuries, ranging from bruises to a skull fracture, since April 2017. Meriter suspended the nurse Feb. 9, and the Wisconsin Board of Nursing suspended the nurse's license March 19.

2. Madison Police Department spokesperson Joel DeSpain told Madison State Journal the department passed the case to the Dane County District Attorney's Office. The office has not yet decided whether to file charges and is waiting on additional information, according to District Attorney Ismael Ozanne.

3. The delay may be due to the complexity of the case, which involves five victims, according to Eric Farnsworth, a medical malpractice attorney in Madison who is not directly involved with the case.

"You may have an air-tight case on baby A, but you're weaker on babies B and C," he told the Madison State Journal. "Do you charge A ... or do you keep working on all of them, recognizing there's strength in numbers?"

4. It could also be difficult to prove other nurses weren't involved in the injuries, if the infants were treated by multiple shift nurses, and that any mishandling of the infants was intentional, according to Mr. Farnsworth.

5. Timothy Verhoff, a Madison-based criminal defense attorney and former deputy DA, said the six-month span of no charges doesn't necessarily reflect on the strength of the DA's case.

"If they're delaying, there could be very good reasons that we just don't know and they can't comment on," he told Madison State Journal. "It doesn't make it a bad case."

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