We do from time to time hear about babies stolen from maternity wards. So we asked you what you thought about the security in the South African hospitals where you gave birth.
Recently US mom Lory Beth Snyder's baby girl, Lorelai, was admitted to hospital in Jonesboro, Arizona. After going from pillar to post for various examinations and blood tests, they were both exhausted.
Lory eventually managed to calm her restless daughter, and they both got to sleep. But after about an hour-long nap, Lory woke to find Lorelai was not in her hospital crib.
Lory eventually located her daughter in another patient's room, in the other patient's arms. They were surrounded by a few nurses, who were laughing and playing with the patient and Lorelai.
In her Facebook post, Lory said she didn't know the woman – she wasn't a doctor, nurse or any other type of health professional – she was just another patient.
Lory proceeded to take her baby from the woman and when doing this, the woman kept telling Lory she needed to rest and Lorelai is fine staying with her.
Lory also had to take back Lorelai's crib, drip and pack up the nappy bag, which, too, was taken from her hospital room and emptied around the unknown patient's room.
After vacating the unknown patient's room, Lory was followed back to Lorelai's room by nurses who kept reassuring her there was nothing to be concerned about and that her daughter was in no danger at all.
Lory wasn't paying much attention to the mob of nurses following her back to Lorelai's room, but when she did, she noticed that the unknown patient had followed her back to her room as well. The patient kept telling Lory she should get some rest and let her keep Lorelai.
Even though Lory kept declining, the more the unknown patient insisted. Nurses eventually had to remove the unknown patient from Lorelai's room. Lory and her daughter were transferred to the intensive care unit, which had more security structures in place.
She also contacted the Jonesboro police department, but Lory was told no crime had been committed, because the unknown patient didn't intend to harm, rape or molest Lorelai. According to the Jonesboro police department, the act of taking a child from their parents or guardians is not considered kidnapping if there is no intent to harm the child.
A little closer to home:
Last year, a joint operation was put together to arrest a woman who had taken a baby from a hospital in Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal. The woman was arrested by Johannesburg metro police and transported back to KwaZulu-Natal, where she would appear in court on charges of child abduction.
Recently, the Cape Town woman accused of taking Zephany Nurse from her sleeping mother in Groote Schuur Hospital nearly 20 years ago, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
We asked our Parent24 and Your Baby magazine readers to weigh in on the state of hospital security. Thoughts and experiences proved to be different for everyone.
One reader said security was good, but even though this was the case, you couldn't trust anyone and, therefore, would need to keep your guard up at all times.
Another reader mentioned private hospitals and how they have sufficient measures in place to protect patients. Semi-private and state hospitals, however, needed to improve their systems and their stance toward the protection of their patients. But even though you may be in a private hospital, with jacked-up security, you couldn't let your guard down. She told her husband to never take his eyes of their baby – even though she herself might be in some trouble, she would be able to manage on her own.
Another reader thought security measures were sufficient, it's just that security needed to be vigilant and on the ball with every person and not allow one to slip through any cracks.
Another reader thought it could be a different scenario at different hospitals. She gave birth at a state hospital and the security was strict, yet another hospital experienced an abduction. She simply advised that everyone be vigilant, but at the same time, to not become too paranoid about safety and security.
This reader suggested pregnant women and their partners should be admitted simultaneously, then everyone would be safe and secure during the hospital stay, because the staff who are meant to help are no longer trustworthy.
This reader, however, slammed the security altogether.
What are your thoughts around these hospital abductions? Are hospital security measures insufficient? What should we be doing in order to ensure our newborn babies' safety and security for the duration of hospitalisation? Share your opinion by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.