Nurse accused of ‘mercy killing’ in death of premature baby

Fellow caretaker says colleague unplugged baby’s respirator when it became clear that infant’s chance for survival was low

Illustrative image of newborn baby (Getty Images)
Illustrative image of newborn baby (Getty Images)

A nurse in the neo-natal intensive care unit of Schneider Children’s Hospital in Petah Tikva has been accused by a co-worker of unplugging a severely premature baby’s respirator because its chances of survival were unlikely.

According to a Channel 2 news report on Thursday, the incident occurred two months ago, but a complaint has now been lodged with police.

The investigation is still in its early stages and the suspected nurse has yet to even be questioned by police.

The complaint to police said that upon realizing that the likelihood of the infant’s survival was weak, the accused nurse disconnected the respirator and waited until there were no further signs of life before plugging the machine back in.

The complainant first reported the incident to Schneider’s administration, and only approached police after she felt her claims were not being taken seriously.

However, the hospital said that the incident had been thoroughly investigated and no wrongdoing had been found.

Schneider’s Hospital said that the case involved a “fetus suffering from severely life-threatening injuries due to premature birth with slim chances of survival.”

“The claim was examined by a senior professional medical team, which included the chair of the hospital’s ethics committee, and was found to be baseless. Under these circumstances, there was no reason to report the incident to the Ministry of Health or the police,” the hospital said.

The health ministry said it was also investigating the incident.

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