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Nurse accused of fracturing newborn’s skull; more than 200,000 sign petition urging punishment

Public rage is escalating after a newborn baby suffered brain and skull injuries owing to alleged violence at a hospital.

As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, 203,880 South Koreans had signed an online petition requesting a proper investigation and punishment of the person responsible for the infant’s injury. The petition was filed by the baby’s father on Oct. 24 at the website of presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

The presidential office is required to respond to petitions that receive more than 200,000 signatures in 30 days. 

A screen grab from the CCTV footage showing the nurse holding the newborn by the neck with one hand on Oct. 20. (Yonhap)
A screen grab from the CCTV footage showing the nurse holding the newborn by the neck with one hand on Oct. 20. (Yonhap)

On Oct. 21, the 5-day-old baby identified as A-young was moved from a private hospital in Busan specializing in obstetrics and gynecology to a bigger university hospital after showing signs of severe brain damage. She has been in the hospital ever since to treat skull fractures, cerebral hemorrhage and hypoxic brain injury but has not regained consciousness.

CCTV footage was obtained from the hospital ward where A-young had stayed and provided to a local broadcaster. In one section of the video, a nurse can be seen throwing the baby onto a basket and carrying her by the neck in one hand. The video, recorded Oct. 20 -- the day A-young fell unconscious -- also showed the nurse slapping the baby’s face with a towel.

The police are currently searching for a direct correlation between A-young’s injuries and the nurse’s actions.

The nurse has been booked without detention on charges of child abuse, but the court refused to issue an arrest warrant owing to lack of evidence and because the nurse is pregnant.

According to the police investigation, the nurse has worked at the hospital for more than 10 years. The police found evidence that the nurse mistreated other babies and are investigating those cases as well.

The police are also trying to recover two hours of missing CCTV video footage. A-young’s parents suspect the hospital deleted it intentionally to cover up the nurse’s abuse.

By Choi Ji-won  (