Mount Sinai Hospital Launches Investigation Into Death of Infant

Mount Sinai Hospital Launches Investigation Into Death of Infant
  • A four-month-old infant suddenly died in the neonatal ICU unit. 
  • The hospital launched an internal investigation into the death. 
  • Sources told the local media outlets that a nurses’ strike adversely impacted the quality of care in the NICU ward. 
  • The hospital reportedly failed to provide adequately-trained staff during the walkout.

( – On Wednesday, January 11, the parents of Noah Morton received a phone call from officials at New York City’s Mount Sinai Medical Center advising that their son had died. The four-month-old baby had spent his entire life in the center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) due to a hole in his heart. He reportedly passed away after NICU nurses unsuccessfully attempted to insert an IV after noticing an inexplicable drop in the infant’s blood count.

Tiny Noah’s parents, Craige and Saran Morton, told NBC New York that they had thought their son’s condition was improving. His death “seemed so sudden,” the infant’s father remarked. Saran echoed that sentiment, adding that hospital staff had “basically” said that “he was looking pale.”

The Mortons recently received word that the hospital launched an internal investigation into the circumstances surrounding their infant son’s death. Of particular note, the infant died during a massive nurses’ strike.

Internal Investigation Raises Concerns About Nurses’ Strike Impact on Quality of Care

On January 31, the New York City-based website the Gothamist published a chilling exposé detailing the medical center’s internal review and the potential impact of the nurses’ strike on the quality of care at Mount Sinai’s NICU.

Thousands of nurses went on strike at the Mount Sinai Hospital and the nearby Montefiore Medical Center three days before Noah Morton’s death. The Gothamist reported that unnamed sources blamed the infant’s untimely demise on untrained “travel nurses” staffing the NICU and an overall failure by hospital officials to prepare for a massive walkout. For those unfamiliar with the term, travel nurses refers to non-union nurses brought in from other locations during strikes.

The Gothamist reviewed internal communications detailing the incident. They presented a grim picture of how events played out in Mount Sinai’s NICU on the last day of Noah Morton’s life. For instance, it reportedly took nursing staff members hours to notice that the baby’s blood count had dropped. Sources told the Gothamist that experienced NICU nurses would have responded immediately to the situation.

An individual with insider information confirmed that babies receiving NICU care “can get very sick very quickly,” creating a need for “highly trained” nurses and staff members in the unit.

Parents Took Extreme Measures

The situation became grave enough that some parents resorted to extreme measures to protect their children. For example, Lora Ribas told CNN she was afraid to leave her one-year-old baby’s side during the strike. She said Mount Sinai’s NICU was consistently understaffed before the strike, but the incoming travel nurses who replace regular staff members didn’t fully grasp her son Logan’s unique needs.

Ribas ended up taking a leave of absence during the strike to stay by Logan’s side. She told CNN that it was “scary” to consider the fact she couldn’t even take restroom breaks without “being concerned.”

As a sad side note, the nurses struck a deal with hospital officials within hours of Noah Morton’s death and returned to work the following day.

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