Trigger warning: this post contains descriptions and video imagery of physical abuse involving a newborn infant.
A father whose two-day-old newborn son, Nikko, was in a NICU unit at a Long Island hospital is claiming that he caught his son’s nurse “slamming” the baby face-down into his bassinet.
The baby’s father, Fidel Sinclair, 7news.com claims that when he heard his son crying in the NICU, he took out his phone to record him as he was unable to physically be with him. But to his shock and horror, Sinclair says that his phone captured the nurse abusing his son.
What Happened at the Hospital
Sinclair and the baby’s mother, Consuelo Saravia, had their son at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip and the baby was being kept in the NICU for antibiotics to be administered. NBC New York reported that Sinclair was watching his son through the window of the NICU when he witnessed the abuse. According to the outlet, Sinclair saw the nurse pick his son, Nikko up in a rough manner, then slam the baby face-down into his bassinet.
The news outlet doesn’t specify if the NICU was closed for visiting hours, or why Sinclair was outside of the NICU, but he states that he recorded the video of the nurse hurting his son while he was on the other side of the window. The alleged video being shared on social media shows what appears to be a window that is mostly blocked by a drape, allowing just a small area of Nikko’s bassinet to be seen from the outside. However, that small area was perfectly visible to show the baby being yanked up and slammed back down directly onto his face.
“I don’t know, it just broke me,” Sinclair told NBC New York of the moment he realized what was happening. “I didn’t know what to do.”
He did show the video immediately to the baby’s mother, Saravia, who confronted the nurse. Saravia told NBC New York that she told the nurse she didn’t want her touching her son again and accused the nurse of “slamming” her son, but the nurse denied any wrongdoing.
“She said. ‘Oh no, if you think I mishandled him or anything, I’m sorry,’” Saravia told the outlet.
Saravia also took the video to the hospital’s nurse managers and administrators at Catholic Health, who runs the Good Samaritan hospital. The hospital released the following statement to NCB New York, announcing that the nurse who allegedly appeared in the video had been fired:
“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.”
While there may have been some relief that their son was safe and the nurse received appropriate consequences, Sinclair also pointed out how concerning it was that the NICU area his son was in was so clearly meant to be out of sight for parents with the strategically-positioned drape.
“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 told NBC New York, adding: “I find it messed up that in a room like that they have all the curtains closed.”
Additionally, he noted that there are no security cameras of any kind in the NICU, so if he hadn’t been watching his son at that particular moment and there hadn’t been a break in the window curtain at just that right spot, they would have had no idea their son was in potential danger.
Catholic Health also released this statement to NBC New York about their policies for the NICU:
“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.”
What’s Happening Now
While the incident was undoubtedly terrifying for baby Nikko’s parents—“It was heartbreaking,” a family member recalled. “I couldn’t stop crying, I couldn’t even sleep.”—the good news is that Nikko is now home and doing well.
New York’s Department of Health is also investigating the incident, although they told NBC New York the results of any hospital complaints are kept confidential. The Special Victims Unit of Suffolk Police is also investigating.
Sinclair also told NBC New York that he’s grateful he was able to witness his son at that exact moment, because it potentially not only saved Nikko, but other babies as well.
“If it wasn’t for God who sent me to check on him we would have never seen any of that happen,” Sinclair said in closing. “And It would have kept happening overnight not only to him but the other babies, too.”