High-tech system protects newbornsSecurity that saved California baby also in place locally.
By: Frannie Sprouls, The Daily Republic
A security system that stopped a would-be baby kidnapper in Southern California also protects parents and newborns at the hospital in Mitchell.
A woman was caught trying to steal a newborn girl from a Southern California hospital Monday because she had faked a pregnancy with her estranged husband.
Grisel Ramirez, 48, allegedly disguised herself in nursing scrubs and attempted to carry the baby out of the hospital in a purple tote bag, according to Garden Grove, Calif., police.
But Ramirez did not get far. Attached to the newborn was a sensor, which set off alarms and alerted everyone in the maternity ward.
The security system is known as Hugs Infant Protection, which relies and operates on an advanced wireless radio frequency technology.
Avera Queen of Peace uses this system in its maternal care center. Angie McCain, director of maternal care, said the Hugs system was implemented six years ago.
A small sensor bracelet is secured around the newborn’s wrist or ankle within an hour after birth. The infant’s location is monitored 24/7 via a monitor board at the nurses’ station.
“If they get close to the exit, it will sensor the alarm,” McCain said. “It’s an obnoxious alarm that sends everybody running.”
As the alarms sounds, the doors leading to maternal care lock and the elevators shut down.
The same happens if someone cuts or detaches the tag strap.
In addition to the Hugs system, all maternal care staff have colored stripes on the end of their IDs. Staff also wear buttons with the IDs. No one else at Avera Queen of Peace has the stripes or button.
The system is tested one to two times a year. McCain said an employee dresses up and attempts to take an infant out of the center.
“They don’t get beyond the staircase,” she said.