MADISON, Wis. – A former nurse faces 19 charges after prosecutors say he abused several babies in the intensive care unit of a Wisconsin hospital, leaving them with serious injuries.
Christopher Kaphaem, 43, was charged Thursday with 19 felony counts of child abuse counts after he allegedly hurt at least nine infants, the AP reports.
The punishment for 18 of the counts is a maximum of six years, while the last charge, intentional child abuse causing great bodily harm, carries a possible 25-year maximum prison term.
Police opened an investigation at UnityPoint Health-Meriter Hospital in February after employees and parents found two children with injuries, according to WPR. At first, staff were worried that the hospital equipment might have caused the bruising.
Over the course of the investigation, five children were found to have suffered serious injuries that included bruising, broken ribs, broken legs, and a fractured skull.
Police believe Kaphaem, who worked the night shift and often closed the door to the intensive care unit, according to coworkers, abused children for nearly a year – from March 2017 to February of 2018.
Nurses told investigators that Kaphaem would often ignore alarms and once said that he preferred working at that unit because "he would not have to deal with patients talking back to him," according to a criminal complaint.
A $500 signature bond was ordered for Kaphaem, whose nursing license has been suspended by state officials.