Former nurse pleads guilty to abusing nine infants, leaving them with broken ribs, legs

A former Wisconsin nurse pleaded guilty Monday to abusing or neglecting nine infants in a newborn intensive care unit, leaving them with an array of injuries including broken ribs and legs and a fractured skull.

Christopher Kaphaem, 44, pleaded guilty to all 19 felony counts against him. He faces up to 148 years in prison. He was expected to go to trial next month.

Madison police began investigating Kaphaem in response to reports of injuries to infants in February 2018 at the UnityPoint Health-Meriter Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU),

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Christopher Kaphaem, 43, pleaded guilty Monday to 19 counts of abusing infants while working as a nurse at a Wisconsin hospital. 

Christopher Kaphaem, 43, pleaded guilty Monday to 19 counts of abusing infants while working as a nurse at a Wisconsin hospital.  (Dane County Sheriff's Office)

One boy sustained 17 fractures or suspected fractures, one health official testified. A criminal complaint offered no potential motive.

Eight of the nine infants allegedly abused were born prematurely, as early as 27 weeks, The Wisconsin State Journal reported.

Kaphaem worked for the hospital for more than 14 years. His license was suspended Feb. 8, 2018.

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The hospital was cited in March of that year after federal inspectors found it didn't respond appropriately to allegations of infant abuse in April 2017.

Meriter said it has installed video monitoring in NCIU patient rooms and has updated procedures for reporting abuse.