Hospital nurse accused of murdering newborn baby

Police investigating claim Petah Tikva nurse intentionally disconnected premature baby girl's breathing machine leaving her to die.

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David Rosenberg,

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Central district police are investigating a claim that a newborn baby in a Petah Tikva hospital was disconnected from life support systems and intentionally allowed to die by a hospital nurse.

According to a report by Channel 2 Thursday evening, close to half a year ago a nurse working in the hospital nursery for premature babies at the Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petah Tikva was accused of disconnecting an infant girl from a breathing machine because her chances for survival were slim – an act the nurse may have rationalized as a “mercy killing”.

The nurse remained near the newborn baby to ensure that her life signs ceased after she was disconnected from the breathing machine.

A second nurse claimed that she observed the incident and notified hospital officials.

Since her initial report, however, the accuser turned to the police, expressing concern that, in her view, the hospital investigation was not taking the matter seriously. The hospital had failed, she noted, to notify the Health Ministry of the incident.

Following the whistleblower’s complaint to police, both Central district police and the Health Ministry have opened investigations into the matter.

Should the woman’s claims be found to be based on evidence, the accused nurse could potentially face murder charges.

However, hospital officials at Schneider deny the claim has any foundation, writing in a statement issued following the Channel 2 report that the internal investigation turned up nothing to validate the whistleblower’s claims.

“This is a complaint about a specific case of a premature baby girl who was born at a very early week of pregnancy and with a very low [birth] weight, who suffered from serious and life-threatening complications due to her premature birth and who had slim chances of survival. The claims [of the whistleblower] were checked by a senior professional medical team which included the chairman of the hospital ethics committee, and no basis was found [for the claim]. In that case, there was no reason to report to the Health Ministry or police.”