Hospitals around the region have been on alert after a woman was trying to abduct babies from North Carolina and South Carolina hospitals.
Hospitals around the state are part of an alert system. All have received a bulletin warning about suspect Linda Mae Everett’s alleged attempts to steal a baby from a New Hanover hospital.
UNC/Rex’s Women’s Center in Raleigh was among the facilities to have received an alert. The center delivered over 5,500 babies last year — babies whose parents are concerned with keeping them safe.
“It’s definitely something I worry about,” said Adria Schroff, the mother of a newborn named Asher. “He’s such a treasure. I wouldn’t want anything to happen to him.”
The director of Women and Children Services at UNC/Rex said the hospital depended on its current security procedures to safeguard infants.
“We do drills to test co-workers to make sure they are on their toes,” said Susan O’Dell. “Every time we dream up a different way to run a drill, we’ll put that in place to see if we can catch them.”
There are electronic safeguards like a monitoring bracelet that gets placed on the baby’s ankle within seconds of birth. The hospital also makes sure mothers are aware when their babies will be out of their sight.
“It’s usually my lead nurse that takes my baby in and out,” Schroff said. “She was great walking me through how many times I should expect him to go out of the room.”
She added: “They are always checking my [ID bracelet] number to make sure it coordinates with my son and my husband to make sure everyone is of the right ownership.”
The hospital wouldn’t talk about some of the less obvious security procedures because O’Dell said that would tip off anyone with malicious intent.
She did admit that infant abductions are one of their biggest concerns.
“We have guidelines about who can transport a baby to or from a nursery to a mother’s room,” O’Dell said.
The infant safety procedures aren’t confined to UNC/Rex. O’Dell said competing hospitals around the state “all share best practices” when it comes to infant security because protection of those babies is a top priority at any hospital.
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