This is posted in the OB section as well, but I thought more people would see it if I posted it in both places. Please read!
Okay guys, I REALLY need some input on this one. Last week, we had a woman come up to the perinatal area carrying three empty backpacks, asking about 'the triplets.' She told a few people waiting outside the nurseries that she was there to 'get her babies.' As you can probably guess, she was NOT the mother of the triplets. Anyway, she was escorted out of the unit by the NM and an OB tech, and the whole time kept talking about how much she wanted a 'little boy baby,' and that she was here to 'get me a baby.' On the way out of the unit, she ducked into a pp room where there was a mom/baby couplet...thank GOD they caught her and continued escorting her out. ANYWAY, a couple of days later, she was back. Same thing. Chattering about the triplets, getting a boy baby, etc.. A nurse on the pp unit found her in the old (never used) common bath, running the bathwater. She asked the woman what she was doing, and she said she was running a bath for the pt. in room 32. When the nurse said there was no pt. in room 32, the woman said she meant to say room 30. The nurse (idiot) LEFT THE WOMAN UNATTENDED to go ask the pt. in room 30 if this was true. When the nurse and the NM came back, surprise surprise, the woman was gone. She left a pair of dirty socks and a used CRACK PIPE (yes, you read that correctly) on the floor. Over the next couple of days, security was CRAWLING the place. The woman was finally caught and charged with trespassing. Now here's my question....do y'all have closed access to your units? Specifically, do you have key-card locks on the unit doors, etc.? We have the little alarms on the baby bracelets that cause the unit doors on the pp to shut and lock if the infant passes a certain point on the unit, but that's it. No locks on the L&D doors, where there are 'untagged' babies, plus a set of unlocked doors leading to the nurseries. The nurseries have a locked entrance on the pp side, but the unlocked set in L&D kind of mitigates their effectiveness. We have a sign on the doors to L&D that say 'authorized personnel only,' but you can guess how much of a deterrent THAT is. We've had instances of confused m/s patients wandering into L&D, family members trying to use the L&D nursery doors for access, etc., etc.. After last week's incident, we're all scared. I've already had a meeting with my NM months ago in regards to locking the unit, but nothing was done. I suspect nothing will be done even now. They'll probably wait until our perfect no-abduction record is ruined to take action, which will be too late. WHAT WOULD YOU DO? I wrote a 'nasty-gram' to the administration, but tore it up after a co-worker I trust told me I'd probably get fired if I sent it. I'm a very 'take-action' kind of girl, who isn't content to just sit and b**** about a bad situation. I think a change needs to be made, but I'm also a realist and know how ineffective hospital administration can be. Plus there's the whole 'budget' issue...our hosptial is $3M in the hole, and I bet that would be thrown at me as a reason why they couldn't buy locks for the doors. I personally think BAD PUBLICITY and a LAWSUIT is way more 'expensive' in the long run, but doubt administration would have the presence of thought to consider that. Suggestions, anyone?
Mar 12, '01
I don't work OB but at the hospital where I work the two entrances to the unit are always locked. The supervisors and the nurse manager have the key. Everyone else has to be "buzzed" in. Babies wear a warning bracelet also as do all dads.
There is an outside (corridor) window to the nursery and for the most part the blinds are usually kept shut. On the bassinettes there is no mention of the sex of the infant. I think it's only last name. If any unexpected situation should arise as the one you described the staff is instructed to call a "code baby" to make all hospital personnel aware that a possible infant abduction is taking place. If I'm not mistaken, at this point all entrances to the hospital are locked and of course security responds. But the rest of the employees know to keep a watch out for suspicious people during this time. I agree that the expense of putting locks on the doors and securing the unit will be cheaper than the bad publicity as well as a lawsuit and the heartache the parents would have to endure if an infant were harmed or abducted.