PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Newborns are priceless and hospitals take the safety of these precious babies very seriously – something they explain to new parents.
“They did explain to me that if he was taken anywhere near the elevator, or out of certain areas of the hospital, that the band they would put on him would stop that from happening,” says Adam Kirk of Squirrel Hill.
Adam Kirk and his wife Kristin just had a baby at Magee Women’s Hospital 10 weeks ago.
The baby got two ID bands — one for the wrist, one for the ankle. Mom got an ID band, too.
Mothers can specify a third person to get an ID band, usually the father. Staff must match ID bands of baby and parent.
There’s a locked door on the maternity unit, a clerk at all times and a nurse in the nursery
“I never felt that he was in any danger,” says Kirk. “The only thing that ever gave me pause was that I was able to walk into my wife’s room without ever being challenged. I was able to go through card access doors, just by waiting for someone to come out, and just going inside.”
Only hospital employees with an identification badge with a stork on it can handle the infant, but scrubs aren’t necessarily color coded.
“There were some nurses in white and some nurses in green,” Kirk recalls. “It was the kind of environment where we just assumed anybody who came in in hospital scrubs was supposed to be there.”
On leaving the hospital, the Kirks had to take the baby together to the nurses’ station to have the sensor band removed and a sticker was put on the carrier saying the baby was okay to go home.
In regard to the newborn abducted Thursday, UPMC declined an on camera interview, but sent a written statement, saying the hospital system will be reviewing the event to see what improvements could be made in security.
Other hospitals have similar procedures. St. Clair Hospital, for instance, also uses electronic bands and a matching system; scrubs in Labor and Delivery are unique to that unit; a security camera and nurses’ station are strategically located.
West Penn Hospital declined to comment about their procedures.