SANTA ANA, Calif. – A California nurse has been accused of child abuse after video surfaced of him appearing to kick a 6-year-old boy with special needs, Santa Ana police said Wednesday.
Oscar Felix, of Orange, is the person accused and his employer, Maxim Healthcare Services, has since fired him, the firm told KTLA. He is described by police as a "nurse" but officials did not offer further information about his credentials.
No charges have yet been filed against Felix. For now, police have released nanny cam footage that caught the alleged instances of abuse on tape and are recommending he face felony child abuse charges — a fate that will be later decided by Orange County prosecutors.
The six-year-old boy was under full-time care of the nurse as he has been diagnosed with a disorder called CHARGE syndrome, which includes symptoms such as ear abnormalities, hearing defects, eye abnormalities and growth retardation, among others, according to the National Institute of Health.
Due to this disorder, the boy has a difficult time speaking, hearing and has a feeding tube, police said.
His mother became alarmed when the boy started showing more aggressive behavior, Santa Ana police said, so she decided to install a 'nanny cam' that could keep an eye on the nurse caring for him.
That footage, taken on Friday and released by police on Wednesday, shows the male nurse on his phone as the boy tries getting his attention by walking up to him and crawling on top of him. At one point, the man appears to trip the boy and later appears to actually kick the small boy as he is lying on the ground.
Police said the nurse can be seen pinching the boy's neck.
"They way you gotta look at it is, if this was your child, this is a child that cannot communicate, cannot share what is going on," Cpl. Anthony Bertagna of the Santa Ana Police Department said, adding that the boy's disability makes the nurse's apparent indifference, such as looking at his phone constantly as the boy tries getting his attention, even more egregious.
That indifference evolves into something more serious, even criminal, Bertagna said, as Felix later "physically assaults" the boy.
In response to the video, police have recommended felony child abuse charges be filed against Felix, but O.C. prosecutors must still review the case before moving forward with any charges.
Meanwhile, Maxim Healthcare Services has fired Felix and notified the state board of nursing about the alleged child abuse.
"The care and safety of our patients is our highest priority. Immediately upon learning of this incident we suspended the employee and initiated an investigation," Maxim said in a statement to KTLA.
"As a result we have terminated the employee and notified the California Board of Nursing," the statement read. "We have fully cooperated with the Santa Ana Police Department in their investigation thus far and will continue to lend our full cooperation."