Local Hospitals Keeping Tiniest Patients Safe

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The case of a kidnapped baby in Lubbock has raised some concerns about the safety on some hospital's tiniest patients.

Baby Mychael Darthard-Dawodu is now safe and back in the arms of her mother, after being kidnapped from the Lubbock hospital and taken across state lines.

The woman who kidnapped her, posed as a medical worker and was able to walk out of the hospital with the baby in her purse.

However, local hospitals feel confident that their security programs will protect newborns from such events.

"Here at the College Station Medical Center at the Women's Pavilion, we use a variety of systems that are integrated to function as one," said Frank Hartman, Director of Property at College Station Medical Center. "They provide both security access control as well as video surveillance for protection of the infants."

According to hospital officials, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the nursery are on lock down 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Badges with photo ID's are programmed to allow those with the proper authority to enter.

There are also certain protocols in place for staff to abide by.

"When infants are transported, they are monitored via an electronic system, and staff are trained to look at protocols when babies are transported so that they can identify means of transportation that are not normal," said Hartman.

Across town at the St. Joseph Regional Health Center, similar systems are in place to keep the young patients safe.

"We have an active security program in place here, and there are cameras throughout the hospital like entrances and exits," said Associate Director of Nursing at St. Joseph, Rose Eder.

In addition to the security elements, officials also said they take a lot of time educating the parents.

"I think the biggest thing is that we talk with the moms very carefully and tell them to never release your child to someone who doesn't have on a name tag," said Eder. "And in this area (nursery), we have on a specific type of name tag."

Both The Med and St. Joseph say they have drills that prepare them in the event that an infant is abducted.

"If an attempt of an infant abduction occurs, our facility totally locks down and serves as containment," said Hartman.

"It's the one drill in the hospital that every single person who is working comes out for," said Eder.