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Hospital says newborn slipped from nurse's hands; Investigation underway

An investigation has begun after a newborn child slipped out of a nurse's hands Tuesday morning at Uniontown Hospital. The child was then airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh.

According to a release from the hospital, just after 6 a.m. a child slipped from the hands of a 30-year veteran nurse at the Family Beginnings Birthing Center while the nurse was seated and caring for the infant.

The hospital said the infant was immediately assessed by medical personnel and a full battery of tests were performed. According to the release from the hospital, no injuries were initially discovered, but the child was transferred to UPMC Children’s Hospital as a precaution.

On Tuesday afternoon, Eli’s family told WPXI that their son had a fracture and bleeding on the right side of his skull. His family said he was in stable condition and that his injuries wouldn’t require surgery.

Eli’s mother, Jacqueline Hunt, told Lewis the first time she saw her son he had a neck brace on.

“The pediatrician came in and told us that (the nurse) was feeding him and burping him, and she was drowsy and fell asleep and dropped him,” Hunt said.

The hospital said an internal investigation is being conducted. In addition, Eli’s family contacted Uniontown police, who responded and are investigating the incident.

“If she was tired, she should have known professionally not to pick up this child,” Hunt said.

According to Hunt, she was told about the incident about an hour after the incident happened -- not immediately.

“It’s just heartbreaking. I mean, if it was an accident, you can admit and tell us it was an accident. There's no need to lie,” Hunt said.

The hospital’s release sent to WPXI Tuesday included the following statement:

“At Uniontown Hospital, we are committed to making a healthy difference in every life we touch and when such an unfortunate incident occurs, we take it very seriously and personally. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the child and the family. We are sorry that such a wonderful event has been overshadowed by an unfortunate situation. We are thankful that it appears that this incident did not result in significant injury and we will continue to work to ensure that we do all we can to prevent such incidents from occurring.”

Eli was taken to Children's Hospital as a precaution because he wasn't eating normally.

“I just want to make sure my boy is OK,” Hunt said.

Lewis reported the neck brace was removed Wednesday morning.

Eli's mother tells WPXI he can eat normally, and the skull fracture will heal over time.

In an updated statement Wednesday, Josh Krysak, coordinator of community relations at Uniontown Hospital, confirmed that after testing negative for injury at Uniontown Hospital, doctors at Children’s discovered Eli had “a minimally displaced skull fracture” but that “all indications we have received point to a full recovery.”

Additionally, Krysak said they’re continuing to also support the nurse involved in the incident. 

“We are also supporting the nurse involved in the incident, recognizing her dedication to her job and the anguish she is suffering. Her official status remains under review as we continue to gather information regarding what occurred,” he said.

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