When a Texas couple welcomed their newborn into the world, their baby girl was healthy and perfect. Sadly, she wouldn’t leave the hospital that way, thanks to a busy nurse’s shortcut, which the child’s parents fear could have a lasting impact.
Spencer Lewandowski was thrilled to finally meet his daughter Isabel and looking forward to taking his healthy baby home. But, when it finally came time for the family to be discharged from the hospital, an alleged and questionable practice by a medical professional would leave the beautiful little girl in much different condition than when she entered this particular nurse’s care.
Prior to being discharged from St. Joseph Medical Center in Houston, Texas, Baby Isabel required a routine blood test. After what the nurse is accused of doing during the procedure, however, Spencer Lewandowski fears his daughter has been left with irreversible damage, leaving him wanting answers as well as retribution as he also hopes to warn others about the shortcut he claims the nurse took.
While performing a standard PKU test, which all newborns get, the nurse didn’t use the recommended heel warmer typically used to increase blood flow to the area. Instead, she allegedly soaked a clean diaper in water before placing it in the microwave. After heating up the saturated diaper, she slapped the scorching hot heat pack she had made onto the newborn’s foot.
The results were disastrous. As the nurse’s makeshift heel warmer was removed in order to prick Isabel’s heel with a needle for the blood test, it was discovered that the newborn had suffered severe second-degree burns. The nurse’s approach, using an improvised heat pack instead of the ones designed for the procedure, had scalded Isabel, leaving her heel blistered, according to KFOR.
The injury was horrific. The outer layer of skin was ripped away, exposing the raw flesh underneath which was also burned and blistered. Spencer was rightfully outraged to see the extensive and senseless injuries his newborn daughter unnecessarily endured at the hands of a nurse, who is supposed to be trained and expected to do no harm.
“My baby has second-degree burns on her foot and ankle and now we are just trying to get her treated,” Spencer Lewandowski said in an interview with the local news shortly after the incident occurred. The distraught dad hired Attorney Tim Culberson, hoping to make St. Joseph Medical Center and the nurse answer for the alleged mistreatment.
It was the first case of its kind that Culberson had seen in his many years of experience representing injured children. “The nurse took a diaper, wet it and put in a microwave and then put it on the baby’s heel and hurt the heel. I’ve been representing children with injuries for 16 years and I’ve never heard of this happening,” Culberson said.
The hospital only seemed to offer a standard statement on the matter, giving no real insight into how or why something like this was allowed to happen. “At St. Joseph Medical Center, the safety and care of our patients is our utmost concern,” the statement said. “We are aware of the complaint and are conducting a thorough investigation that is ongoing. The hospital is committed to providing high-quality health services to the communities we serve.”
Without the hospital publicly acknowledging or admitting to what happened, the father’s claims are just that — allegations. Even if true, the injuries were accidental. However, this isn’t the standard of care that should be provided by a trained and licensed medical professional. Heel warmers, designed to safely warm the heel, were created for this very purpose. In addition, anyone knows that when using heat, you must also use caution.
This nurse lacked diligence and her negligent behavior resulted in a senseless and painful injury. Cutting corners, creating shortcuts, and then neglecting to use common sense is inexcusable for any medical professional. When you are entrusted with someone’s child, a lapse in rational judgment is unacceptable, regardless of how busy you may be.
While most nurses are wonderful, caring, and brilliant people, there are those who disregard safety for convenience, which seems to be the case here. As parents, we must not put too much trust in anyone. Knowing babies are sensitive to water that’s too warm, red flags should go off if anyone, professional or otherwise, attempts to use anything that’s been microwaved on our child.
As we hope that the hospital’s investigation revealed the truth and resulted in needed reprimands, reminders, and education, let Isabel’s misfortune not be in vain. This needs to be a reminder to other parents to question any unusual care our children may receive at the hands of any professional. Remember, it’s okay to say, “No way.” Your child’s well-being could depend on it.