Baby raped in Australian hospital's pediatric ward

Dec. 1, 2008
Hospital staff reportedly asked for CCTV camera prior to incident

The man in charge of Royal Darwin Hospital's (RDH) paediatric ward the night a baby was raped there says staff asked management to install a CCTV camera but were told it would be too expensive.

The Health Care Complaints Commissioner, Carolyn Richards, has criticised the Health Department for not installing a security camera in the ward until August this year and only after a camera was put in the kitchen to stop people stealing food.

Doctor Charles Kilburn told the ABC's Stateline he did not think it would take so long to install a security camera.

"That was a surprise to me I must say when I heard that," he said.

"I guess that that particular time at the hospital was a difficult time and since that time the management team has changed."

Dr Kilburn says budgeting problems delayed the installation.

"It was a budgetary constraint," he said.

"The recommendation from our group was that CCTV cameras should be installed.

"A quote was obtained and it was felt that that was too expensive by the management group at the time."

Dr Kilburn also says he is disappointed that people have been allowed to enter the ward without being challenged by staff.

He says after-hours access to the ward was restricted soon after the rape and now no one except staff can enter the ward without first using an intercom.

But Ms Richards says last November two of her investigating officers were in the ward for up to 25 minutes before they were asked to identify themselves.

Dr Kilburn says that staff are asked to report people they do not know, however they often have a lot on their plate.

"The staff are told that they need to report and recognise anyone who is behaving suspiciously and hopefully people who they don't recognise," he said.

"They've got a lot of duties, they're clinically active, they're in a busy ward and their main focus is on the clinical care of the children."

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