Like most parents with a child in the neo-intensive care unit, Consuelo Saravia was worried about the health of her newborn son Nikko. But the release of a video has made her question the care her child received at Good Samaritan Hospital in Long Island, NY. Nikko was only two days old when he went into the NICU for observation while the doctors administered antibiotics.
“It was heartbreaking,” said Saravia. “I couldn’t stop crying, I couldn’t even sleep.”
Fidel Sinclair, the baby’s father, remembers going into the facility to check on Nikko and could see him crying through the window of the nursery. He decided to record a video of his son through the window but ended up catching something much more disturbing on camera. A nurse is seen picking up the baby with little regard for his safety before turning him around and slamming him face first into the bassinet.
“I don’t know, it just broke me,” said Sinclair. “I didn’t know what to do.” He shared the video with Saravia, who then confronted the nurse.
“I told her ‘I don’t want you to touch my child. You just slammed him,’” Saravia recalled the conversation. “She said ‘Oh no, if you think I mishandled him or anything, I’m sorry.'”
They also sent the video to hospital administrators. Catholic Health, the organization that runs Good Samaritan, said, “upon learning of this incident, swift and immediate action was taken, including conducting an investigation and consequently terminating the individual involved. Additionally, we reported the individual to the Department of Health for further review. Keeping our patients safe remains our paramount concern.”
Sinclair and Saravia are now worried about the other babies in the NICU, which was marred by a lack of transparency. There are no cameras in the room, and it remains mostly shrouded in secrecy.
“There were a lot of babies in there and it made me feel like if that happened to Nikko who else did that happen to,” Sinclair wondered. “I find it messed up that in a room like that they have all the curtains closed.”
He said he was grateful that the curtains were parted enough to give him a view of Nikko.
When asked about the curtain policy in the NICU, Catholic Health said, “It is standard procedure to have closed curtains in the neonatal ICU to provide privacy for the patients and their families and because services are being administered at the bedside. Immediate family members are permitted inside the neonatal ICU to spend time with their loved ones.”
But the investigation into the matter is ongoing. The New York State Department of Health said it is taking this “disturbing allegation seriously.”
“As this is an open investigation, the Department cannot comment further,” it said in a public statement. “All hospital complaints are kept confidential and at the conclusion of an investigation the outcome is shared with the complainant.”
Nikko is now at home with his parents and doing fine, says Saravia. Sinclair added that he was glad he checked on his son when he did. “If it wasn’t for God who sent me to check on him, we would have never seen any of that happen,” said Sinclair. “And It would have kept happening overnight not only to him but the other babies, too.”