A FEMALE medic has been suspended from working at a hospital after it was claimed a four-year-old was smacked in front of his mother.
The HSE has confirmed a major investigation is under way into the alleged incident and gardai may become involved.
The child's mother claimed the incident happened at Letterkenny General Hospital at the weekend.
She has made a statement claiming her child was slapped on the bottom.
In a statement a hospital spokeswoman confirmed the parent has made a formal complaint.
The medic has taken a leave of absence while the incident is investigated.
"Letterkenny General Hospital is investigating a Trust In Care incident concerning a child who was attending the hospital, accompanied by its parent," said the spokeswoman.
She said the hospital is guided by two policies when dealing with such incidents.
"The Children First policy states that the key principles informing best practice are that the welfare of children is of paramount importance and all personnel and health professionals have a responsibility towards child protection and welfare," she said. "The Trust in Care policy aims to ensure any allegations or complaints against a member of staff are thoroughly investigated.
"This policy states that at an appropriate stage in the process, management should take whatever protective measures are necessary to ensure that no patient/client or staff member is exposed to unacceptable risk."
The hospital said the nature of any investigation was not discussed with third parties not associated with the alleged incident.