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Newborn Baby abducted from hospital

Posted

Specializes in ICU/PACU. Has 10 years experience.

Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Here's a news link http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29440648/

Apparently this woman was hanging around the L&D unit for a few days and told people who asked who she was that she had a friend who was having a baby. She had been watching & planning the kidnap for awhile.

She dressed in scrub pants & a top and followed an employee in saying she was a family member of a patient. So she was going back & forth and somehow some thought she was an employee and others thought she worked there. She tried to take one baby but failed, she said she was going to take the baby for footprints and the mother refused.

Then she asked another mother and she thought she was an aide so she gave her the baby.

Scary huh. That's what I overheard the supervisor saying last night. Luckily she had parked in the visitor parking lot, so her license plate number was on security and she was captured in a town about 45 min from here.

I'm guessing the hospital is in big trouble! It's hard to believe that all hospitals don't have the security necessary in nurseries & labor delivery units isn't it?

NurseyBaby'05, BSN, RN

Specializes in Neuro/Med-Surg/Oncology.

When I had dd last month and ds two years ago, the hospital didn't allow the babies to be carried in the halls. All employees of that department have a specific colored badge. Dh was ticked-off that he couldn't walk dd in the halls (she was fussy from the get-go). If someone had been walking with a babe in his/her arms, he would have stood out like a sore thumb. The only way the babies are in the halls is being pushed in bassinets. The staff also wears a specific color of scrubs that are embroidered with the department logo. I just showed this to dh and he doesn't think the policies are so crazy now.

When I had dd last month and ds two years ago' date=' the hospital didn't allow the babies to be carried in the halls. All employees of that department have a specific colored badge. Dh was ticked-off that he couldn't walk dd in the halls (she was fussy from the get-go). If someone had been walking with a babe in his/her arms, he would have stood out like a sore thumb. The only way the babies are in the halls is being pushed in bassinets. The staff also wears a specific color of scrubs that are embroidered with the department logo. I just showed this to dh and he doesn't think the policies are so crazy now.[/quote']

Everywhere I've been recently has one of those baby lo-jack devices. I have a hard time believing that there are hospitals that don't use them.

David Carpenter, PA-C

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

a few years ago, one of our docs (married to another of our docs) delivered at our hospital. her husband was so proud of his new son that he brought the boy down to the icu to show him off. he slipped down the back stairs, thinking he'd have the baby back "before anyone noticed he was gone." big mistake! he was in the stairwell on the way downstairs when the code pink was called. when he emerged in the icu, he was met by our charge, whose "code pink duty" was to monitor the stairwell for people carrying babies. she admired the baby, but he never did live down the stigma of having "abducted" his own child! he said he thought that since he worked at the hospital (and was a big name researcher) it would be ok. and the nursery manager gave him a huge dressing down, telling him "it doesn't matter who you are; the rules are there for a reason."

Everywhere I've been recently has one of those baby lo-jack devices. I have a hard time believing that there are hospitals that don't use them.

David Carpenter, PA-C

Really I don't think they work that well. We had false alarms all day long and then they wouldn't go off when a baby went through the door. People were so used to the false alarms that I am sure there is no way they would actually call code pink. The shape and size of the transmitter prevented it from being put on the baby's amkle tight enough to be really secure and we would sometimes find them in the blankets, completely off the baby's ankle. Never had an actual kidnapping though, so I don't know what the response would be like.

Really I don't think they work that well. We had false alarms all day long and then they wouldn't go off when a baby went through the door. People were so used to the false alarms that I am sure there is no way they would actually call code pink. The shape and size of the transmitter prevented it from being put on the baby's amkle tight enough to be really secure and we would sometimes find them in the blankets, completely off the baby's ankle. Never had an actual kidnapping though, so I don't know what the response would be like.

The ones that we had worked well. I think that it depends on the sensor placement. Every once in a while we would have the alarms go off when one got put in the linen after being taken off a patient at discharge. Housekeeping would get as far as the elevators when the alarm went off. The only problem we had was that the pediatric floor was directly above the level two nursery which took up half the floor below. Initially when we had big wheel races the alarm would go off every time a patient went by the alarm gate on the floor below. They solved this by putting the sensors on different frequencies.

The bottom line is that all the policies and procedures are useless unless you follow them as the article showed.

David Carpenter, PA-C

Really scary. Glad it resolved happily. I hope the perpetrator gets mental treatment. For the employees who did not do what they should have done to prevent this - will heads roll?

We have false alarms, too. But each and every time an alarm goes off, security is on the phone to us within about twenty seconds. We have to verify that we have physically laid eyes on the baby that matches the security tag info for them to stand down.

We also prohibit the carrying of infants in the hallways. Stroll with your wee one in their crib if you wish, but no one--no parents, docs, or other staff--is allowed to transport a baby without a crib. The one exception would be on discharge when the mother in her wheelchair has the baby in her arms. Anyone carrying just a baby would be stopped immediately.

All doors leading to the birth center are locked from the outside and require either a badge (color-coded for birth center staff) or the staff to buzz people in. When they buzz, we ask for name and room number. If they don't have a specific patient in mind, they don't come in.

We also caution the parents that they shouldn't allow anyone without the proper colored badge to take their child from the room. If a doc or a lab tech wants the baby in the nursery, a birth center nurse has to move the baby in the crib.

I put some of the culpability for infant abductions on the ridiculous relaxation of visiting rules--as in there aren't any rules anymore. Even with good security measures in place, it can be difficult to keep tabs on the gazillions of folks who are allowed to wander the halls of a hospital at any time of the day or night. One example of this is people who "tag along" with a group of visitors and follow them after they've been buzzed through the door. We don't know they're not part of the brigade, and chances are, the legitimate visitors won't even notice them.

When I buzz people in on the noc shift, I watch them from the time they come through the doors (where they are on camera) until they enter the correct room.

I'm so glad this woman was caught right away. Hope the parents can recover quickly.

I had one code pink while working as a NICU nurse for 4 years. I was rounding, checking on my babies, and entered a mom's room, where I found an empty crib, and an empty mom's bed, but her purse and cell phone were on the bedside table, and the baby blanket was in the crib. I quickly checked the bathroom, which was also empty, and proceeded to call a code pink. I went room to room in the hallway while the other nurses took up their prospective posts. I found the mom and baby in a neighboring room. Seems that mom's best friend had also delivered that day, and she was just "visiting" her friend. I escorted the mom and baby back to their room, explaining to the mom (once again) that the baby could NEVER leave the room unless she was in her crib, and that the baby was NOT allowed in another patient room. The baby could be with the mom in her room, or with ME in the nursery, and no where else. Scared me to death, but I was so happy that it turned out well. Just a case of a mom thinking that the rules didn't apply to her. . .The baby ended up spending the rest of the night in the nursery with me. . .and the L&D nurses had to go explain to all the other moms what had happened.

I had my baby about 2 years ago and it was in a small country hospital. No lo-jack type devices or any alarm triggering items were used. The nursery was located right in back of the nurses station which was directly in front of the doors to the outside and parking lot. I kept my baby with me the whole time in my room. That is so scary that people do this stuff. I'm glad they had her plate on camera.

NurseyBaby'05, BSN, RN

Specializes in Neuro/Med-Surg/Oncology.

We have false alarms, too. But each and every time an alarm goes off, security is on the phone to us within about twenty seconds. We have to verify that we have physically laid eyes on the baby that matches the security tag info for them to stand down.

We also prohibit the carrying of infants in the hallways. Stroll with your wee one in their crib if you wish, but no one--no parents, docs, or other staff--is allowed to transport a baby without a crib. The one exception would be on discharge when the mother in her wheelchair has the baby in her arms. Anyone carrying just a baby would be stopped immediately.

All doors leading to the birth center are locked from the outside and require either a badge (color-coded for birth center staff) or the staff to buzz people in. When they buzz, we ask for name and room number. If they don't have a specific patient in mind, they don't come in.

We also caution the parents that they shouldn't allow anyone without the proper colored badge to take their child from the room. If a doc or a lab tech wants the baby in the nursery, a birth center nurse has to move the baby in the crib.

I put some of the culpability for infant abductions on the ridiculous relaxation of visiting rules--as in there aren't any rules anymore. Even with good security measures in place, it can be difficult to keep tabs on the gazillions of folks who are allowed to wander the halls of a hospital at any time of the day or night. One example of this is people who "tag along" with a group of visitors and follow them after they've been buzzed through the door. We don't know they're not part of the brigade, and chances are, the legitimate visitors won't even notice them.

When I buzz people in on the noc shift, I watch them from the time they come through the doors (where they are on camera) until they enter the correct room.

I'm so glad this woman was caught right away. Hope the parents can recover quickly.

This was pretty much the same system when I had my kids. I also agree with the lax visitation policies contributing to the situation. Of course, the hospitals could pay someone to be at the desk 24/7, but you know that would never fly with the bean counters. :rolleyes:

Edited by NurseyBaby'05

When I had dd last month and ds two years ago' date=' the hospital didn't allow the babies to be carried in the halls. All employees of that department have a specific colored badge. Dh was ticked-off that he couldn't walk dd in the halls (she was fussy from the get-go). If someone had been walking with a babe in his/her arms, he would have stood out like a sore thumb. The only way the babies are in the halls is being pushed in bassinets. The staff also wears a specific color of scrubs that are embroidered with the department logo. I just showed this to dh and he doesn't think the policies are so crazy now.[/quote']

Thats what the hospital does too where I do my OB rotation at. They also put a security device on baby while it's still in L & D along w/mutiple id bands. If that baby is transported past a certain point their little "lojack" goes off and all the alarms start ringing & it immediately triggers a code pink. Plus the doors to any areas that house babies will not open if that device triggers the system. Then again at this hospital there is an entire floor for infant services & it is a self contained area divided into the needed units like L &D, Postpartum, etc. NICU is on another floor & also does not share space w/any other type of unit since they are whole other set of security issues.

Mom & Dad have corresponding bands. Mom gets her on admission to the hospital. If they can't read out what is on the band then they don't get that baby & it goes back into nursery until everyone matches up w/the right party.

As a student I NEVER EVER transport a baby to another part of the hallway. The pts know what color badge they should be looking for. I have had relatives get angry about not being able to hold babies in the hallway but the other reason for that is not just fear of abduction but it's a liablity for the hospital. Everyone knows how fast paced L & D & nursery traffic can be coupled w/exhausted relatives who are stumbling around looking lost & stunned anyways. Imagine if one of us students, a doctor, a nurse, or a tech banged into someone holding a baby in a hallway? Once that is explained most people are happy to keep baby in the isolette if they are going to be in the hallway. Maybe tell dh about the fear of injury to a baby not in a nice sturdy isolette on top of the abduction fears we all have nowadays.

Edited by AmericanRN

JeanettePNP, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Pediatric Pulmonology and Allergy. Has 8 years experience.

a few years ago, one of our docs (married to another of our docs) delivered at our hospital. her husband was so proud of his new son that he brought the boy down to the icu to show him off. he slipped down the back stairs, thinking he'd have the baby back "before anyone noticed he was gone." big mistake! he was in the stairwell on the way downstairs when the code pink was called. when he emerged in the icu, he was met by our charge, whose "code pink duty" was to monitor the stairwell for people carrying babies. she admired the baby, but he never did live down the stigma of having "abducted" his own child! he said he thought that since he worked at the hospital (and was a big name researcher) it would be ok. and the nursery manager gave him a huge dressing down, telling him "it doesn't matter who you are; the rules are there for a reason."
besides the bone-headedness of "abducting' his own child against hospital rules, i can't imagine a doctor being so foolish as to bring his own newborn into an icu!!!

Besides the bone-headedness of "abducting' his own child against hospital rules, I can't imagine a doctor being so foolish as to bring his own newborn into an ICU!!!

That's what I was thinking too. Blech!

I had my baby about 2 years ago and it was in a small country hospital. No lo-jack type devices or any alarm triggering items were used. The nursery was located right in back of the nurses station which was directly in front of the doors to the outside and parking lot. I kept my baby with me the whole time in my room. That is so scary that people do this stuff. I'm glad they had her plate on camera.

My situation was similar, but I know that larger hospitals and NICUs certianly would not be able to maintain this type of care...but I delivered at a Birth Center and my son NEVER left my room. Granted, I was only there for 5 hours before being discharged:D, but nonetheless since we were both healthy, their protocol stated that mom and baby should not be seperated for any reason. No baths, no procedures, no time for mom to rest alone, etc.

It seems like hospitals in general take baby way from mom more often than is nescessary. Of course there are times when it needs to be done, but why take a baby away to give it a bath or feed it? Heck, why even give it a bath?

Less time out of mom's room would be less time for an abducter to get sticky fingers...not to mention more bonding time:D!

Edited by yelnikmcwawa
spelling

Multicollinearity, BSN, RN

Specializes in Acute Care Psych, DNP Student. Has 4 years experience.

We also prohibit the carrying of infants in the hallways. Stroll with your wee one in their crib if you wish, but no one--no parents, docs, or other staff--is allowed to transport a baby without a crib. The one exception would be on discharge when the mother in her wheelchair has the baby in her arms. Anyone carrying just a baby would be stopped immediately.

During clinicals in a very large L&D unit, I saw an RN carry twins down multiple hallways on the semi-long walk to the nursery area. I thought this was strange and lax, but I knew nothing about common protocol in L&D departments.

I watched this nurse carry a newborn in each arm, quickly walking through multiple crowded halls with visitors and thought, what if she gets bumped, someone runs into her...what if some child visitor comes running around a corner, what if someone who isn't a nurse carries newborns out like this, etc?

Good to know my concerns were not without merit!

After these criminals steal a baby, how on earth would they get a SSN- or a birth certificate? Very wierd. I guess they don't think that far ahead.

Jo Dirt

Has 9 years experience.

When I had my son in June 2007 I was a lot more paranoid than with the previous three. When I'd take a shower I'd wheel him in next to the shower and kept peeking at him to make sure he was there. It was funny, though, on the door there was a description of the average child abductor, I remember the part about an overweight white female and thought, that sounds like me...

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