After a year ago, a mother’s infant daughter was abducted from her home at Middlemore Hospital in New Zealand when she was only five days old, the District Health Authority is seriously concerned about the issue. Now they are implementing a new system of special trackers to monitor new mothers and their babies.
Elsie Pretorius, who was injured last year, was especially happy about the news. The woman believes that in situations like this, extra precaution doesn’t hurt and regrets that the new technology is only being implemented now, because her daughter, Nadine, was searched for eight hours. Using a tracking app or beacon could have cut that time considerably.
A small bracelet with a built-in Radio Frequency Identification (RFI) tag is worn on an infant’s leg to keep her safe.
There is a separate niche in the market for devices and tracking beacons for patient safety that allow remote monitoring of their movements. It was decided to select the most suitable ones to ensure a high level of safety for mothers and babies, as well as to prevent cases of kidnapping, entanglement and swapping of babies.
The implementation of the idea is quite simple: mother and baby bracelets are connected to each other and when the connection is broken, the security service receives a corresponding message. And the alarm is sounded only in case of suspicious movements of small patients, which may indicate an abduction plot. For example, the security service will immediately take action if the child’s tracking beacon is moving toward the exit, and the mother’s tracking beacon indicates that she is in the room.
This is the first time such a system has been used in New Zealand and, given the unfortunate experience of Middlemore Hospital in Manakau County, it was the institution that pioneered it. If the system proves effective, it will be introduced nationwide.
In addition, the story of the abduction of a newborn girl has health care providers concerned about the safety of their patients. For example, Hawkes Bay hospitals have installed new surveillance cameras.
GPS trackers are now becoming very popular and are used in various countries. Devices placed in various closet items (shoes, clothes, pendants) help relatives and law enforcement agencies to quickly track down a missing person. This is an ideal solution if the family has young children, the elderly or mentally ill relatives. In the U.S. thousands of newborns are given a special bracelet that automatically sends an alarm if they are taken out of the building or if the bracelet is removed.
Despite the fact that abductions of newborn babies do not happen every day, one case is enough to draw conclusions and take all kinds of measures to improve safety. Nadine is now healthy and will celebrate her first birthday next month, but her mother is still terrified about how this abduction could have turned out.