Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan launched an internal investigation into the tragic death of a 4-month-old infant in the neonatal intensive care unit, the New York Post reported. At the time of the baby's death, approximately 7,000 New York City nurses had walked off the job to protest for increased staffing and higher salaries.
According to internal communications obtained by Gothamist, the hospital initiated the investigation into the infant's death last week.
Sources that worked in the NICU reported that the baby boy suffered from a severe heart condition.
On the morning of January 11, the third day of the nurses' strike, hospital staff overlooked the infant's low blood count for several hours. Sources told Gothamist that seasoned NICU nurses would immediately have escalated the lab results. However, at the time of the strike, the NICU was staffed by non-union nurses who did not have as much experience as the usual staff.
"These babies can get very sick very quickly. … That's why subtle things you see are important to report, and highly trained NICU nurses do that," one source, who worked in the NICU during the strike, told the outlet.
"I've seen and done a lot of difficult things in my career. I've held children when they died. But this was especially traumatizing," the source added. "I've been having nightmares every night."
Another source stated that some infants received medicine hours late on several occasions.
"They put nurses in there who had zero NICU experience," the source told Gothamist. "Parents felt like they couldn't leave their child's bedside during the strike."
A physician in the Mount Sinai health system reported that NICU doctors picked up responsibilities typically assigned to nurses, including feeding, taking vitals, and administering medicine.
In September, the union warned the hospital about the possibility of a strike. Approximately 7,000 nurses walked off the job in January to picket in the street for increased staffing and higher wages. As a result, Mount Sinai Hospital and Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx were forced to reschedule nonemergency surgeries, redirect ambulances to other medical centers, and recruit temporary staff.
During the strike, a Mount Sinai spokesperson told Gothamist that the NICU unit was "appropriately staffed" with 17 nurses.
On Tuesday, the hospital declined to comment about the ongoing investigation into the infant's death, the New York Post reported.
Like Blaze News? Bypass the censors, sign up for our newsletters, and get stories like this direct to your inbox. Sign up here!