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Angela Dukes was supposed to be taking care of a infant, but instead taped a pacifier to the baby’s mouth and smothered the poor child:

Authorities said Thursday they may charge a pediatric nurse-turned-foster-mother with child homicide after she confessed to taping a pacifier to an infant’s mouth. Angela Deniece Dukes, 30, also lost her foster care license Thursday after a clean history of caring for three other children before the Feb. 8 death of 9-month-old Curtis Williams, officials with the Department of Social Services said. State Law Enforcement Division director Reggie Lloyd said agents will consult with prosecutors about upgrading the charge to homicide by child abuse. Dukes had been a foster mother for 11 months until the agency revoked her license on the heels of a SLED charge Wednesday of misconduct toward a child.

SLED filed the lesser charge because agents wanted to arrest Dukes as quickly as possible before she went to work Thursday at Palmetto Health Richland, where she works with ailing children, Lloyd said. She was arrested at her home. Dukes has worked in the intermediate care section of the neonatal intensive care unit since August 2006, hospital spokeswoman Judy Smith said. She last worked May 1 and was to return for a shift that began at 11:30 p.m. Thursday, Tammie Epps, another spokeswoman, said. The hospital had received no complaints about Dukes in 2½ years of employment, Smith said. She was suspended without pay as soon as SLED notified the hospital it would file a charge, the spokeswomen said. Dukes confessed Monday to an agent that she had taped the baby’s mouth shut to hold the pacifier in place, Lloyd said. She used medical tape. She also had told investigators she gave Curtis the medication Benadryl for his congestion. 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.”

What is happening these days? SMH<




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