Former Nurse Charged For Abusing Infants, Released On Bail
A former nurse charged for bruising, and breaking bones of infants was released on bail the same day. In this image: Miami VA Medical Center hospital registered nurse, Rafael Sepulveda, pulls on rubber gloves while attending to patients in the Emergency room in Miami, Florida, Oct. 17, 2007. Getty Images/Joe Raedle

A former nurse charged by Wisconsin prosecutors Thursday with 19 felony child abuse counts for abusing multiple infants in a Madison hospital’s intensive care unit was let off on a signature bond the same day, reports said.

Prosecutors accused 43-year-old Christopher Kaphaem of bruising and breaking the bones of at least nine infants at the hospital. Kaphaem remained silent when reporters questioned him after he was brought to court Thursday. He was then taken to Dane County jail for fingerprinting.

Except for one count, all the other charges against him would get him a maximum prison sentence of six years. The last count, which is for intentional child abuse causing great bodily harm, can get him a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, according to reports.

According to the hospital staff at UnityPoint Health-Meriter Hospital's infant intensive care unit, Kaphaem caused an array of injuries to the nine toddlers between March 2017 and February this year. He caused bruising, broken ribs, broken legs, and a fractured skull. A child identified as Infant 1 had “fracture to his skull, a wrist fracture, and a left humerus fracture,” a complaint against Kaphaem said, reported WKOW affiliated to ABC network.

According to the complaint, veteran nurse Karin Smylie observed bruises on the palm of a child who was under Kaphaem's care.

“Never in my 32 years working in NICU have I ever seen anything like that,” Smylie said.

Other nurses said Kaphaem once checked on an infant with dim light, ignored alarms and kept the room's door closed, which according to them is a suspicious and dangerous practice while providing care to infants. They also alleged Kaphaem often shunned help in care tasks. The complaint said the injuries to the infants were often discovered after Kaphaem’s overnight shifts.

“Kaphaem had once told her (the nurse) he was happy to work in the NICU because he would not have to deal with patients talk back to him,” the complaint said.

The police investigation into the incident began in February after Kaphaem was suspended from the hospital when the authorities first started to suspect his misdeeds. He worked at the hospital for fourteen years. His nursing license was also suspended indefinitely due to the accusations.

“It is a very complex case, there is a lot of documentation,” Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne told 27 News, adding the motive behind the victimizing of these infants were unclear. “I can’t say why this may have happened,” he said.

Kaphaem was previously employed with UW Hospital from where he was reportedly fired. A spokesperson for the hospital declined to comment on why Kaphaem left the hospital.

According to reports, Kaphaem will appear in court again on Oct. 15. Any contact with the families of the victims and the Meriter Hospital is banned, according to his bail conditions.

The hospital released a statement regarding the incident which listed a list of planned improvements in the hospital including immediately removing Kaphaem from his job, cooperating with authorities, setting up a hotline for anyone with concerns about care in the infant intensive care unit and installing around-the-clock surveillance cameras in the care unit rooms.

“While we are deeply saddened by these recent events, we are determined to learn from them, regain your confidence and serve our patients for generations to come,” the statement said according to a report on WTOP.