Criminal charge against nurse DA said ‘violently slammed’ newborn in ICU dismissed


Amanda Burke with her attorney Charles C. Gottlieb, and the newborn she had been accused of endangering (News12 screenshots)

Amanda Burke with her attorney Charles C. Gottlieb, and the newborn she had been accused of endangering (News12 screenshots)

Criminal charges against a 30-year-old nurse in New York accused of “violently slamming” a newborn baby face-down into a bassinet in the neonatal intensive care unit have been dropped just hours before she was scheduled to go to trial on one count of endangering the welfare of a child.

Suffolk County District Court Judge Eric Sachs on Monday formally dismissed the misdemeanor charge against Amanda Burke, her attorney confirmed to Law&Crime.

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office had previously said that Burke was working at Good Samaritan Hospital’s neonatal ICU on Feb. 6, 2023, and was assigned to care for a 2-day-old baby named Nikko.

While the windows in the neonatal ICU are typically covered for privacy reasons, the covering on the bottom corner of one of the windows had come off, allowing someone outside of the unit to look in and see baby Nikko. The child’s father was recording a video of his son when the incident took place.

“Burke approached the newborn while he was lying in a bassinet, lifted him up, quickly flipped him over, and violently slammed him face down on the bassinet,” prosecutors wrote. “The infant’s father recorded a video of the incident on his cellular telephone through the nursery window. After viewing the recording, the infant’s mother confronted Burke.”

The child’s parents then showed the video of Burke slamming their child into the bassinet to other nurses and staff members at the hospital. Authorities say that the establishment took swift action, directing Burke to leave the hospital and terminating her employment within two hours of the alleged incident taking place.

Burke’s attorney, Robert C. Gottlieb, told Law&Crime that the dismissal of the charge was welcome, but came “a year too late.”

Gottlieb explained that the essential element of the endangering charge prosecutors would have to show is that Burke’s actions were “likely to cause physical injury” to Nikko. He said that nine months ago, he provided prosecutors with an expert report stating that Burke’s conduct, which was recorded, was not likely to cause Nikko injury.

However, prosecutors waited until four days before the trial was slated to begin before they spoke to their own expert, Gottlieb said. It was only when the DA’s expert also agreed that Burke’s actions were not likely to cause physical injury to Nikko that prosecutors called Gottlieb and advised they would be dropping the charges.

In their explanation to dismiss the charges, prosecutors also referenced Burke’s nurse’s licensing agency, which investigated the allegations and determined that her conduct “did not even rise to the level of gross negligence and did not warrant any action against her nurse’s license,” Gottlieb continued, noting that the DA’s office had already been informed of the agency’s decision well in advance of the decision to drop charges.

Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney issued the following statement to News 12 indicating that the nurse’s licensing agency’s decision played a crucial role in his office’s decision to dismiss the charge against Burke.

“Unfortunately, despite the disturbing video which captured the incident in this case, the New York State Department of Licensing found the defendant did not act with gross negligence,” he said. “As such, we could not prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.”

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