Infant Abduction Prevention Measures Announced at N.C. Hospital
The policy changes are meant to improve infant security at the Birthing Center of Northern Hospital of Surry County.
Northern Hospital of Surry County in North Carolina announced a series of infant abduction prevention policies and technology upgrades last week.
As part of Northern Hospital’s new policy, which is effective immediately, the hospital’s Birthing Center is a locked area to all but visitors given permission to enter from mothers.
“These stricter guidelines are designed as an extra layer of protection for our patients – both moms and newborns,” explained Hospital Birthing Center Manager Cade Wright. “Our goal, one that is shared by our moms, is to create a safer environment for everyone concerned.”
Visitors entering the maternity ward will need to ride a designated visitor elevator specific to the Birthing Center and ring a doorbell at the department’s entrance on the second floor. No other elevators will have access to the second floor.
After visitors ring the doorbell, a staff member will speak with them and then seek entry permission from the mother.
No one under the age of 12 will be allowed into the Birthing Center except healthy siblings of new babies.
If there are too many visitors at any given time (there is a limit of three visitors per mother at a time), they will be directed to the family waiting room just outside of the Birthing Center entrance.
“We understand and encourage the joy and excitement of family and friends surrounding the birth of a new baby,” Wright said. “We have always protected our patients like family, which is one reason we have now created a more controlled environment for their care. We greatly appreciate the understanding and cooperation of our visitors as we implement these new policies and procedures.”
The security announcement follows infant protection policy changes implemented in July. Those changes require all visitors over the age of 18 to exchange a photo ID for a visitor badge.
Northern Hospital of Surry County officials have encouraged mothers to tell relatives about the new policies.
“With the times we are living in, it is imperative that we protect our most vulnerable patients, which are our mothers and babies,” the hospital said in a July statement. “These stricter guidelines are just one way we are taking those extra steps of protection.”
The policy changes align the Birthing Center more closely with North Hospital’s emergency department policies.
North Hospital lists the following services as provided by its Birthing Center:
- Labor/Delivery/Recovery/Post Partum Rooms (LDRPs)
- Labor Triage Room
- Epidural Pain Management
- OR Suite for Cesarean Section
- Fetal Stress Testing
- Level II Nursery
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