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Baby’s death spurs city, hospital investigations

Date Posted: 2010-06-11

The death of a baby in Okinawa City a few months ago has triggered investigations into abuse by both Ginowan City Office and the hospital where he died.

The three-month-old baby was taken to a hospital after the mother noticed the baby’s eyelids swollen. Arriving late at night, only the Emergency Room was open and there was no pediatrician on duty. The attending physician did not notice the abuse, so the hospital did not call police to report.

As the family began complaining, police became involved and the hospital has begun its own internal investigation. “If it turns out that the baby’s condition was from an abuse injury, but if our hospital couldn’t find the abuse symptoms, it is a big problem,” says a hospital doctor, “and we should change our procedures that we could ensure at any time of the day or night that we are able to diagnose what is wrong with any patient.”

Police say now that the baby was killed by his stepfather. The baby was registered in Ginowan City, and the Ginowan City Office says an official from its office had visited the baby’s home and check on its health. At that time, officials say, they found nothing wrong or unusual. Police say the stepfather had been abusing the baby almost daily because he was agitated over having no money. They say the stepfather had purchased a car and had to pay for a loan, and investigators speculate the man had no outlet for his anger and vented his frustration on the baby.

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