Local News

Babies quarantined at Dunn hospital nursery

Posted October 3, 2011

— Parents were demanding answers Monday from a Dunn hospital after their infants were quarantined for nearly a week following birth.

Five babies born last Tuesday at Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital became sick with what appeared to at least one father as some kind of stomach virus.

“He spent not even like five minutes with my wife, and they need to check him out,” Sam Aqrawabi said of his son, Khalid.

The infant was vomiting and appeared to have trouble breathing," Aqrawabi said.

"He doesn't look right," he said, recalling his son's appearance. "His face is, like, blue and black."

All five babies were quarantined, and one had to be flown to another hospital for treatment. Aqrawabi said the infants were given antibiotics intravenously and had stool and blood samples taken.

"It's a nightmare. I mean, you can barely sleep," he said. "You just go home and pray out your heart and soul."

Betsy Johnson officials confirmed that five babies became ill with similar symptoms, but they declined to elaborate. Spokeswoman Jennifer Franklin said they were treated by a pediatrician and an infectious disease specialist.

Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital Hospital investigating illness that sickened five infants

The hospital is investigating the cause of the illness, Franklin said, noting that parents' suspicions that a sick nurse was the source of the outbreak hasn't been confirmed.

"The hospital extends its gratitude to the families for their cooperation during this time," she said in a statement."The safety of the babies and their families is our top priority."

Aqrawabi and his wife took Khalid home Monday.

"He's doing good, as far as we know," he said, adding that he wants the hospital to tell him more about what happened to his son.

"Give us some peace of mind," he said.

Two of the other quarantined babies also were released Monday. Hospital officials wouldn't disclose the condition of the final two babies.

Betsy Johnson restricted access to the labor and delivery floor last week, but that was lifted Monday. Officials said no other babies have become sick.


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  • Homeward Oct 7, 2011

    Can WRAL please update this story? I realize it may take time to figure out what the babies had and how they got it, but don't drop the ball on updates please.

  • ladyblue Oct 4, 2011

    Hospitals are by design a "place for sick people" to get help fighting germs, viruses, and illnesses. Its too bad that this situation happened but the parents should be glad that symptons occurred while the babies were still in the hospital and could get immediate help. Folks shouldn't be so quick to judge...

    While that is true do not forget that hospitals as well as doctor's waiting rooms will also carry these germs and viruses brought in by other patients and visitors. I am no more going to judge the parents for worrying and questioning why they couldn't be told what was going on than I will the hospital for keeping the problem to themselves. If a parent doesn't have the RIGHT what is going on with their child I surely don't know who does.

  • commt23 Oct 4, 2011

    Comments like these below are exactly the reason why I try not to read them...people commenting on and giving their interpretation of an article-not having any real knowledge. First and most important, the babies are doing well or they would not be released (with the exception of the life flighted child who may have other issues). Betsy Johnson is an excellent hospital with truly caring nurses. You couldn't ask for a better location to have a child and I know from experience. Hospitals are by design a "place for sick people" to get help fighting germs, viruses, and illnesses. Its too bad that this situation happened but the parents should be glad that symptons occurred while the babies were still in the hospital and could get immediate help. Folks shouldn't be so quick to judge...

  • Weetie Oct 4, 2011

    This is a prime example of why I would rather die on the way to Rex than go to BJRH...

  • HarnettResident Oct 4, 2011

    I can see the administrators sticking their fingers in their ears and singing "la, la, la, la, la....I can't hear you!" And no official will go on camera?? No matter what you’re actually telling the poor parents, you have an obligation to make everyone you serve to feel safe coming to their own local hospital. It’s PR 101 that when you leave a vacuum of information, people will fill in the details for themselves. Are the babies sick, is it just pink eye, is it life-threatening? When the people in the know refuse to communicate, rumors make it worse. And surely the folks at WakeMed, at least, know that it'll all be public record sooner or later, and the longer you draw it out, the harder the feelings....and greater number of negative headlines that keep the story alive. Now the administrators are looking over their shoulders, waiting for the inevitable visit from authorities to investigate what seems likely to be a serious, possibly sentinel event. This is a train wreck. Slow & pain

  • FromClayton Oct 4, 2011

    this gives me chills! Could you imagine the hospital taking your baby and keeping them? I would have DEMANDED my baby be moved to another hospital immidently. Also putting this hospital on my "do not go to list".

    It is so important to breast feed and bond in the very beginning. I would be crazy mad that had been stolen from me!


  • ConcernedNCC Oct 4, 2011

    When the hospital talks around something like this, you know they did something wrong and are trying to cover it up.

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman Oct 3, 2011

    I can't imagine the hospital doesn't have to inform the parents what the children had, and where it may have come from should the hospital know.

    Sounds like gestapo tactics.

  • yy_heart Oct 3, 2011

    aren't they required for continued care by other outside physicians to tell the parents what their babies have/had? the doctors & nurses most likely know and are covering their behinds! own up to it and save yourself further retribution from the families!

    this is just horrible! sending prayers to the families involved.

  • mikeyj Oct 3, 2011

    Peace for the parents going through this. New blessing and then yanked from the bonding almost timmediately.