While admitting that a security breach may have resulted in a baby boy being stolen shortly before dawn yesterday, January 9, the management of Victoria Jubilee Hospital in Kingston said it will install surveillance cameras at the maternity ward and review its overall security arrangement.
Reports are that, shortly before 5 o’clock yesterday morning, Suzette Whyte was heading to use the bathroom after she realized that she had soiled herself and the floor.
She passed a woman looking through a window.
The woman reportedly told her the soiled area would be cleaned.
When the 46-year-old mother eventually returned from the bathroom, she did not see her baby or the woman she had passed at the window.
The mother, who lost a newborn about two years ago, has one other child alive.
Director of Nursing Services at Victoria Jubilee Hospital Elise Fairweather-Blackwood said, based on reports she has received, the security guard who should have been at the entrance of the affected ward was not there when an alarm was raised about the baby being missing.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer Colleen Wright said each floor at the hospital has a security guard, and there are two other guards stationed in the lobby area.
“No one had seen anyone leaving the compound [with the stolen baby],” she said.
Wright further stated that the hospital would not have discharged anyone at the time the baby was snatched.
“We think that we have security measures in place because we have the armbands [that are placed on newborns]; we have discharge slips; and we have security manning the floor and the entrance…” added the hospital boss.
She continued: “The first thing is that we are installing cameras now so that we would be able to pick up any untoward activity that is taking place. That is the first thing; and we will continue to ensure that the babies are tagged; and we will be reviewing security at the facility overall.”
The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), in the meantime, appealed for public help in locating the stolen child, adding that no photograph of him is available.
“The police are appealing to citizens to help locate a newborn baby boy who was stolen from the Victoria Jubilee Hospital in Kingston about 5am on Wednesday, January 9. The child is less than 24 hours old,” the JCF said. “Anyone who has information is being asked to call 119 or visit the nearest police station.”
The baby theft at Victoria Jubilee Hospital is the second to have taken place at a public medical facility within days.
On January 4, a woman allegedly stole a female baby in the parking lot at Cornwall Regional Hospital in St James.
The baby was found in the parish two days later and the prime suspect arrested along with her boyfriend.