Hospital security rises to prevent infant abductions

Posted at 6:31 PM, Jan 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-13 18:31:04-05

The changes in hospital security measures are being discussed after authorities solved a cold case from 18 years ago.

In 1998, authorities say a woman kidnapped a newborn from what was known as University Medical Center in Jacksonville. A tip lead detectives to South Carolina where they found the child, who is now 18 years old. The accused kidnapper, Gloria Williams, is now charged with kidnapping and interference with custody.

"It's heart wrenching and as a healthcare provider, I certainly don't want that to happen in my facility. It really… heart goes out to that family," JoAnne Cattell said.

Cattell is the chief nursing officer at St. Petersburg General Hospital. She has been working at the hospital in St. Petersburg for 10 years and she said even in those years, security has improved.

"That's our primary goal is making sure mom, family, and baby are safe," Cattell said.

Cattell said now you cannot walk into the postpartum area or labor and delivery wing without someone noticing. She said they have camera's and secured doors and a number of checkpoints.

Catell said it begins with educating the parents before the birth of their child.

"As we go through the education process, we show them this is what we do for security of your infant. This is what we do to make sure that there's never a separation. These are the things that you need to partner with us to make sure there (are) not problems," Cattell said.