Amanda Burke with her lawyer, Robert C. Gottlieb, at First District Court...

Amanda Burke with her lawyer, Robert C. Gottlieb, at First District Court in Central Islip on Monday. Credit: James Carbone

A Suffolk judge dismissed the charge against a Holbrook nurse accused of “violently” slamming a newborn onto a bed at Good Samaritan University Hospital in West Islip after a prosecution expert disclosed days before the start of trial that he would not testify that the nurse's actions were likely to cause injury to the baby.

An attorney for Amanda Burke, 30, made the application to dismiss the misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child as her trial was scheduled to begin Monday before District Court Judge Eric Sachs in Central Islip. Prosecutors did not oppose the application.

“We are thrilled for Amanda,” said Burke’s Manhattan-based attorney, Robert C. Gottlieb. “Amanda should never have been charged in this case.”

Burke, who was fired from her job as a nurse in the neonatal unit the day after a cellphone video showing the Feb. 6, 2023, incident was turned over by the child's parents to hospital administrators, said she's “happy the nightmare is over.”

“I had people at my door, letters in the mail, emails,” Burke said of the ways the public expressed their anger over the incident. “I have an 8-year-old and I felt like she was in danger. It was a nightmare.”

Prosecutors brought a single misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child forward last April and notified the state Education Department’s Office of Professional Discipline to review the incident.

State officials said in a June 20 letter Burke’s actions “did not constitute professional misconduct” and classified it as “simple negligence,” closing the case, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Newsday.

Suffolk County prosecutors said at the time they were moving forward with the criminal case, but informed Gottlieb on Thursday of the findings by their medical expert, a neonatologist in Stony Brook.

“[The doctor] stated to us that in his professional opinion the defendant's actions were not likely to be injurious to the physical welfare of this child,” Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Sean Murphy told the judge.

Sachs commended prosecutors for immediately disclosing the findings of their expert, as they are obligated to do under the law.

But Gottlieb called the decision by prosecutors to pursue the case in the first place “disgraceful.”

“The baby was not injured and didn't even react, didn't cry,” the defense attorney said. “The baby was discharged the next morning.”

Gottlieb also criticized the district attorney's office for waiting to meet with an expert until days before the trial was set to begin.

“What we heard today in the courtroom was disgraceful,” Gottlieb said. “Because it totally misrepresented and was disingenuous to give the impression that there was any sort of investigation until four days ago.”

The parents of the child did not appear in court Monday and could not be reached for comment. Murphy said they were notified last week that the case was likely to be dismissed.

Burke, who attended court with some family members, said she continues to work as a nurse.

With John Asbury

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