Local News

Babies quarantined at Dunn hospital nursery

Posted October 3, 2011 5:42 p.m. EDT
Updated October 3, 2011 6:30 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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.