Fatigue cited in baby deaths at Cooley Dickinson

BOSTON (WWLP) – The Department of Public Health cited “fatigue” as a cause for two infant deaths at Cooley Dickinson hospital in Northampton, and while some are calling for a change in the law, some lawmakers say that may not be the best way forward.

The deaths of two newborns and a mother prompted the DPH to investigate the hospital. The agency found a short-handed staff that was often overworked, which could have contributed to the three deaths.

The hospital has since hired replacement obstetricians and reduced on-call shifts, but as nurses prepare to rally at the State House in Boston, State Rep. John Scibak says changing the law isn’t always the best solution.

“Well, I think sometimes people assume, ‘let’s just make a law, let’s fix it that way,’ and it’s not that simple. It’s sometimes easier to deal with the agencies themselves and the regulations,” the South Hadley Democrat said.

Scibak said regulations are easier and faster to change than laws, and sometimes going through agencies like the Department of Public Health is a more efficient way to find a solution.

On Tuesday, hundreds of nurses plan to rally on the State House steps pushing for laws that regulate patient limits for nurses.

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