by Valerie Verkamp
The mother of a three-month-old infant allegedly failed to provide essential information to doctors at the hospital where they were providing lifesaving care to the infant.
The Platte County Prosecutor's Office charged Kristen Vetere, 28, of Tracy, with a class D felony of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree.
According to court documents, Vetere dialed 9-1-1 after finding her three-month-old boy unresponsive in his crib on Feb. 17. Her husband performed CPR until first responders arrived at their home in the 100 block of Roller Court.
The infant was transported by ambulance to Children's Mercy Hospital, where he was treated for several brain bleeds and bleeding behind his eyes, according to court documents. Supplemental tests also revealed the infant sustained two broken ribs from a recent injury and was potentially healing a broken rib from another injury.
Vetere told an emergency room employee that while she and her husband were shopping for a new vehicle, the infant was secured to her chest with a Tula baby carrier. Inside a vehicle the couple was considering to purchase, Vetere allegedly pulled a lever mechanism, causing the seat to flip up and strike the infant in the head. She said no other injuries occurred that day.
But the infant's physician told police Vetere's explanation is not consistent with the child's life-threatening injuries. The doctor contends these types of injuries suggest the baby was violently shaken or shaken and slammed, according to court documents.
The physician argues the timeframe between when the child was allegedly injured and when the child stopped breathing is incongruent. The physician alleges the infant would have stopped breathing within minutes after the injury, not hours after the injury as Vetere claimed.
When Vetere was presented with the medical evidence disputing her claim, she changed her story, court documents allege. Vetere told police she was carrying her son in the recreational room when she tripped over a box and fell to the floor. Her son allegedly plummeted to the ground, hitting his head on a wooden toy before she tumbled on top of him.
In custody, Vetere told authorities she was concerned about the negative accusations people would make about her, but realizes she should have been more concerned about the health of her son. Vetere has posted bond and hired an attorney.
Still, the infant's physician disputes Vetere's second claim. The doctor contends if the infant had struck his head on a wooden toy when he was dropped, visible swelling and bruising would have occurred on his head. According to court documents, the medical report reveals the infant did not have any visible swelling nor a skull fracture.