Baby snatch attempt sparks hospital security upgrades
DURBAN – Security has been upgraded at Addington Hospital after two unknown men posing as Home Affairs officials gained access to the maternity section last month.
The men, who had official Home Affairs name tags, told the sister-in-charge that they had arrived to collect mothers with newborns in order to do birth certificate registrations. They said this was part of a new campaign to register all newborn babies within 30 days of birth.
Fortunately, sister-in-charge on duty at the time refused to release mothers and their babies and requested the letter of motivation, confirming what the men were claiming. They were unable to produce this and left shortly afterwards, causing the nurse to raise the alarm.
“We have never received prior notification or anything in writing informing us that there would be people from the Department of Home Affairs sent to the hospital to do a birth certificate for newborn babies. And so we refused to proceed with them because our staff are trained not to go through with any changes or developments in standard routine if they have not been given prior and clear notice. Thankfully the staff involved all stuck to protocol,” said one a nursing sister who did not want to be named as she was not authorized to speak to the media.
KZN Department of Health spokesperson Agiza Hlongwane confirmed the reported incident and said all relevant authorities had been informed of what may have been an attempted abduction.
He said the hospital had also since upgraded its security.
KZN MEC for Health Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo described the incident as a shocking and extremely concerning.
“This has all the makings of attempted human trafficking. It is reprehensive that people would go to such lengths as to produce departmental name tags and try to commit something so heinous. The pain and suffering that could have resulted from this are unimaginable,” Dhlomo said.
“We are urging all security personnel, nursing staff and mothers themselves at all our healthcare facilities to be extra vigilant.” – Health-e News.
An edited version of this story was published by Health24.