Hospital Negligence in Infant Abduction Cases
It is known as one of the unthinkable crimes, yet infant abduction happens at a horrifying rate. Statistics of newborn abductions indicate that approximately half occur at hospitals. One in every four kidnappings occurs in a patient's private room. Many facilities have safety and prevention strategies to reduce these numbers. If the unthinkable does happen, who is at fault?Is the Hospital Negligent?
In most cases, the kidnapper is a woman, aged 17 to 33, is dressed in scrubs, and has visited the hospital recently. This FBI profile matches nearly 98 percent of all newborn kidnappers. Staff members should be aware of their surroundings and anyone who looks out of place, especially if they match that profile.
Hospitals owe their patients a duty of care to protect them from outside harm by instituting comprehensive safety programs. If an abductor gains access to a mother and child through the hospital, the hospital may be liable.Preventative Measures
The “Code Pink” protocol is one some hospitals utilize. With this system, “code pink” is announced throughout the hospital as soon as an infant is missing. Every member of the hospital staff stops what they are doing and proceeds to their pre-designated entryway, allowing no one to enter or leave. If anyone is found with a baby or carrying anything that may contain an infant, they are searched. This continues until the “all clear” is given.
Practice drills using a practice doll and someone to act the part of the kidnapper are helpful. Other preventative measures a hospital can install include:
- Security cameras;
- Special alarms for fire doors;
- Time-delay locks;
- Proper staff identifications;
- Electronic surveillance detection system;
- Infant identification bands that correspond to parent bands;
- Visitor logs;
- Infant protection systems with bands that set off alarms at doors or if they are cut;
- Electronic key-card systems; and
- Nurseries and maternity wards should not have lobby or street access.
According to the FBI profile of an infant abductor, suspects visit multiple hospital facilities inquiring about hospital layout and security before acting. Abductors will choose their location due to its proximity to their home, but also for ease of access. If your child was abducted, it might be because the hospital where you delivered lacked the security present at other locations, making your baby an easier victim.
If you believe the hospital should have done more to protect your family, a San Jose, CA hospital malpractice attorney can help. At Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P., we will investigate the incident to determine if your hospital neglected to keep your baby safe and earn you the financial compensation you deserve. Call us today at (408) 289-1417 for a free consultation to discuss your options.Sources