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Neo-natal Nurse Taped Pacifier to Infant's Mouth

Neo-natal Nurse Taped Pacifier to Infant's Mouth

The State

May 08, 2009

Dukes’ job in the intensive care unit entails dealing with babies who have improved enough to transfer from critical care. She worked under the supervision of nursing supervisors and physicians, Smith said.

The hospital is reviewing its neonatal cases as it normally does when it learns of unusual occurrences, she said, adding she does not know how many cases are to be examined or how long the review will take.

Palmetto Health policy does not bar any employee from becoming a foster parent, she said.

Pediatric nurses are highly skilled and generally work in that field because of their love of children, said Judy Thompson, director of the S.C. Nurses Association.

“You are dealing with the most fragile of the fragile,” Thompson said. “This is a very, very needy population.”

For that reason, Curtis’ death has affected even a veteran death investigator.

“I am very dismayed by this,” said Clay Nichols, Richland County’s medical examiner who did the autopsy and has been a pathologist for 24 years.

A nurse skilled enough to work in a hospital with vulnerable children should be especially knowledgeable of the dangers of taping anything over an infant’s mouth, Nichols said.

He likened taping the pacifier to “putting a plastic bag over a child’s head.”

“I want to quit being surprised and hurt,” Nichols said. “But this hurts me to my soul.”

Dukes remains in the Richland County jail under $250,000 bail.

  • 681454_1289498393_2_max50


    over 3 years ago



  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    Good grief, the baby was congested in the first place, nose stuffed up and she covered his other airway....and he suffocated. The lady is an idiot....I'm not sure she deserves to be charged with homicide for being stupid though. She should have known better being a nurse. Apparently she did not know better. Don't think she intended to harm the child. She should lose her nursing license though for not protecting his airway.

  • Profile_jenny_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Very sad :(

  • Tammy_christmas_2002_max50


    over 5 years ago


    I agree with Catty and everyone else!!! I can't stand to see children abused and then end up killed due to the abuse that they suffered. It just breaks my heart to see any child cry at any age. This nurse needs to get everything coming to her for punishment because working as a neo-natal nurse she knows that what she did was wrong. She should have never taped that pacifier to that poor babies mouth.

  • 001_max50


    over 5 years ago


    I agree that this article was extremely unorganized. I did get out of it though, that a little guy was taken from his mom, had tested positive for drugs, placed in the foster-care of a neo-natal nurse, and one day later was suffocated by a taped on pacifier...Wow...very unfortunate. What a sad little life he must have had. I will say he is much better off now.Very tragic. Makes me thankful for the good life, and loved children that I have...

  • J0423100_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Regardless of the COD there is no excuse for this idiot to have taped anything to this poor child's mouth! Stupid crap like this makes me SO mad!!!!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago


    What was she thinking? Does she have kids of her own? If she didn't have tolerance for children crying then she is definitely in the wrong field and should not be caring for babies, she should have worked in another department like med surg or something. So much for that, now crazy is going to jail.

  • Jill_max50


    over 5 years ago


    I agree with jacque and everyone else....what the hell was this person thinking? I cannot stand to watch mothers that wont pick up an infant that is crying...I remember when I was in nursing school doing clinicals that I got chewed out by a staff nurse when I picked up an infant that wouldnt stop crying.....that baby was in fact going thru withdrawals because its mother didnt know how to keep the needle out of her arm........the baby did stop crying when I picked it up and just held it...........

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago


    The obvious is that she did in fact cause harm by taping a pacifier to Little Curtis's mouth, but let's look at the minimal facts given. The child had tested positive for drugs in his system and his sister had cocaine in her system so more than likely he did as well. The true cause of death will not be determined until an autopsy has been performed. The drugs depending on how long the mother had been giving them to her children, may also have played a part in this little boys death. Withdraws from drugs are severe for adults, could have been detrimental for little Curtis. I pray for the family and that the mother's eyes are opened by this tragedy to seek help and to change her life. I pray that the nurse who may have been tired, irritated, and just sick of the crying caused by possible withdrawals will find some resolve within herself and peace with her God.

  • Dscn0720_max50


    over 5 years ago


    my heart goes out to this poor little boys family, some people are just plain stupid and have no common sense, she really doesnt need to be in this profession, im glad they took her license away.

  • 017_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Hope they tape a pacifier to HER mouth when she is congested and can't breathe through her nose as was this little boy.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago


    This is insane, and I hope they prosecute her to the fullest. I have been a single mom now for 15 years and completly understand about getting frustrated, however you still have to use the common sense that God gave each and everyone of us!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago


    This story was sorta hard to follow, from what i gathered, the baby suffocated with the pacifier in his mouth (since it was compared to putting a plastic bag over his head). He was given benadryl for congestion, so he may not have been able to breath freely through his nose (plus if he was crying extra mucus), and also that he died a few days after being put in foster care, and that he had tested positive for drugs in his sytem.

    Well, I would assume, that he could have been possibly going through withdrawls, and he had a cold (congestion) and taken away from his momm! I would think this little guy was having a very rough time of it! And possibly crying all the time, what he needed was a compassionate fother mother to hold him, calm him down, try to sooth the little fella, not stick some pacifier in his mouth to shut him up and when it fell out, because of crying, or what ever reason, tape it to his face! How terrible!

    I can understand how easily a PARENT can become frusterated with a child, BUT SHE CHOSE TO BE A FOSTER parent! And took care of sickly babies/children at her job!

    I hope she is punished to the full extent of what ever they can do! If she was over stressed or burnt out, she should have been seeking a different job. Just my opionion onthis.

  • Summer___i_sailing_out_to_see_dolphins_padre_2008_max50


    over 5 years ago


    yes...very sad, but also a very poorly written article...nothing else in the article seems to explain how the baby died from having the pacifier taped to his mouth....very unorganized story.

  • Dsci1417_max50


    over 5 years ago


    thank god for grandmothers

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