Hospitals Review Security Measures after Baby's Abduction

Analysis points to the need to verify identification of those who claim to be hospital employees


Debra Paschal, director of women's services at Oconee Regional Medical Center in Milledgeville, said her hospital has detailed security measures in place, including electronic monitoring bracelets on the babies, surveillance equipment at every exit on the floor and regular drills for what they call a "Code Rabbit."

"Patients are educated to ask to see the ID before they let the baby go with someone," Paschal said. "There's not a specific guard there, but we have 24-hour, real-time cameras that go to the guard station. They are also transmitted to the safety director's home and the department's head of engineering."

In addition, the newborn nursery is locked, and only staff members have access. Should anyone attempt to kidnap a baby, Paschal said, the unit immediately locks down, and security can see where the violation occurs.

"That's how scary that is," she said. "You can take all the measures and practices in the world, but it's like at a bank. They have all those measures and robberies still happen. I just know how stringent our policies are and how we follow them."

Paschal said the administration hasn't waited to discuss further security measures.

"We had a meeting (Monday) afternoon," she said. "They called us immediately. All of the staff gets together. It was a good review for everybody. We learn from each other. I hope the patients feel secure. We're doing everything we can to ensure that doesn't happen. It's always on our mind. You pay attention all the time, not just when something like this happens."

Sheila Gable, assistant chief of nursing at Coliseum Medical Centers in Macon, said the hospital drills frequently for Code Pink and other emergencies.

"I'm real proud of the program we have," she said. "It relies heavily on educating the patient and staff, letting them know how important babies are to us. We tell (patients) to be mindful of their surroundings."

Gable said the education includes a session with the mother before the baby is ever taken out of the nursery for the first time.

"Our Code Pink plan includes parking lot security and every employee in the hospital," she said. "Any mother, any parent would tell you that this was terrifying for all of us. We certainly support the Medical Center having the success they did (in recovering the baby). It's on the forefront of our minds always. ... We're going to revisit our policies and look at everything we have in place, too."

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TIMELINE OF THE ABDUCTION
12:37 p.m.: Alarm alerts The Medical Center of Central Georgia police and nurses that 4-day-old Timillion Keshon Trawick is missing from the maternity ward.
12:40 p.m.: A Code Pink is announced, alerting all Medical Center employees that a baby abduction is happening. At this point, Timillion had been taken into an elevator on the third floor.
12:46 p.m.: The suspect exits the hospital with the baby.

SOURCE: The Medical Center of Central Georgia

Macon Telegraph


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