Uproar over nurse intern who posted pictures of her mishandling babies

A college in East China has issued a public apology for a student who caused an uproar online by posting photographs of newborn babies being held in a dangerous manner.

Xiao Shiyu, 22, who had been working as an intern at the Children's Hospital affiliated to Zhejiang University's medical school, uploaded the pictures to Sina Weibo and can be seen holding the babies upright by the shoulder, leaving them with no neck support.

"The student violated the procedural rules of newborn care and the ban on taking cell phones into hospital wards," read a notice posted on Sunday on the Zhejiang Chinese Medical University website.

Peng Jianhua, a spokesman for the university, told China Daily on Monday that Xiao is a senior and will graduate with a bachelor's degree in nursing in June.

"We've ordered her to suspend the internship," he added.

A female administration worker at the Hangzhou children's hospital, who declined to give her name, said the photos were taken when Xiao was an intern in April.

In one of the photos, which were widely spread on micro blogs, Xiao supported two sleeping babies in upright positions with one hand. One baby's head drooped and the other bowed upward.

"What's wrong, baby? Wake up. Are you still alive?" she wrote on her Sina Weibo when posting the pictures, adding: "This makes me laugh my head off. You even know how to mimic the dead."

Xiao also apologized on her micro blog on Saturday.

"I love babies, but I did it in an incorrect way. I hope Internet users and parents can forgive me for my childish behavior. I will learn a lesson and consciously show professional integrity," she wrote.

Newborn babies have little strength in their necks as the muscles are extremely weak and cannot support their heads.

"It's common sense for people to be extremely careful to protect the fragile necks of newborns from damage, and to always support their necks when being picked up or held," said a nurse at a leading hospital in Shanghai who gave her name only as Shu.

Head nurses in every department will give interns complete and systematic information about the do's and don'ts when they are in job rotation, she said. "Interns can't work independently by principle, but it's hard to monitor each intern all the time because of the shortage of hospital staff."

Many parents were outraged by Xiao's behavior, accusing her of a lack of love and responsibility, and harming the doctor-patient relationship.

"We hope the public treats the incident as an individual case and doesn't magnify it," said Peng at the university.

"We have a complete education system of professional ethics beginning from the orientation for freshmen."

Shen Beijuan, an associate professor at the nursing college who knows Xiao well, said the student is compassionate but with a simple outlook.

"She told me she just did it for fun and didn't imagine the pictures would trigger the unexpected calamity. I believe she meant no harm," she said. "What she did really went against our instruction."

The hospital said no parents have come to the hospital to seek an apology or compensation, and the executives are discussing a solution for the case.

Cases of nurse abuse
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(Photos:Sina Weibo and YouTube screengrabs)
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