Security at MED's maternity ward changed dramatically following baby-mixup - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Ben Watson

Security at MED's maternity ward changed dramatically following baby-mixup

Nearly ten years ago, two babies born in Memphis were sent home to start out in the world, with the wrong mothers.

It was a mix-up that rocked one hospital to its foundation and created turmoil for two families.

The mix-up was made right two days later, but the mistake prompted big changes for hospitals across the Mid-South.


That mix up eight years ago happened at the Med. But today, it might be easier for you to get into all that gold at Fort Knox than for you to get out of the hospital with someone else's baby.

Jessica Lucas was one of the nurses working in the Med's labor and delivery unit eight years ago when the baby mix up occurred.

"And we've done a lot of upgrading to our systems and our policies and procedures to make sure it doesn't happen again," she said.

Nurses say some of the most noticeable upgrades you'll see are these computer-like bands that are put on newborns seconds after delivery.

"When I walk into the room and I place that mom and that baby together it will sing a song to me to let me know I have taken the correct baby to the room. If I did not take the correct baby to the room, it will produce an alarm to the system alerting nurses and security," she said.

When a baby alarm sounds, it stops elevators and alerts security. Officers are also an addition to the maternity area and everywhere you look, cameras are watching.

"It's a standard in the industry now simply because we always want both the mother and the baby to be secure," said Vice-President of Support Operations Lewis Fort.

MED officials another measure involves secret codes that are needed to get to different floors in the maternity area, another obstacle to anyone who would try to steal a baby.

"Even if people could get into these areas they couldn't get out with a baby," said Fort.

In the coming months, special access cards will also be needed to get into the maternity area.

While we've shown you a lot of the security at the MED, there are several security measures we were not allowed to show you, measures that make hospital officials around the country confident that no more baby mix-ups will occur.


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