Denison, TX--It's an unthinkable crime that's grown over the past few years; Abduction of infants from the hospitals in which they were born. Now, in an effort to prevent this from happening in Texoma, the new TMC is updating its security measures. Daniel Armbruster reports.
In the late 1990s, studies began looking into infant abductions. According to The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children there were 104 infant abduction cases in health care facilities from 1983 to 1998. Most of those occurred in larger medical facilities. Now hospitals across the country, including TMC, have amped up security to prevent abductions from happening here at home.
"In order to get to the baby they have to type in a special secure code."
Brad Smucker is pushing his new baby boy, Samuel, to the baby nursery at TMC.
This is his fourth child to be born at Texoma Medical Center, but the first at the new hospital. Smucker says parents will notice the increase in security right away.
"There's a lot more systems and checks involved so you do feel like your baby is kept well and protected,” said Smucker.
Director of Safety and Security, Gayla Williams, says the hospital spent more than $140,000 on state of the art technology, called "Safe Place", that keeps track of where each new born baby and pediatric patient is at all times. Williams says there is no way for a child to be abducted from TMC.
"There is no way for anyone else to get a child out of here without us knowing,” said Willaims.
The hospital places an electronic bracelet on each newborn infant and on all children staying in pediatrics. The bracelet acts as a GPS device and the hospital is outfitted with automatic door locks on every door and alarms which sound if a child is taken out of the women and children's section of the hospital. In addition, parents are made aware that when they check in, only employees with pink squares around the picture on their badge are allowed to care for children. Other employees have a blue square around there picture.
Beva Hamilton, Nurse Director of Women and Children's Services, says it is necessary in this day and time, to ensure safety for the children and prevent a parent's worst nightmare. Hamilton says if someone does try to take a child, they won't get far.
"They don't even get out of this hospital. They won't get off the floor. In fact they won't even get through to the waiting area,” said Hamilton.