What happened last night at the Basurto hospital in Bilbao leaves a huge sense of anguish in any new parent or soon to be. The impunity with which a woman posed as a nurse to kidnap a baby just one day old makes anyone’s hair stand on end.
Fortunately, the baby was found in perfect condition and the woman has been arrested. It is something very rare, practically impossible for it to happen, but it is inevitable to ask: Is it so easy to take a baby from the hospital? Could my baby be stolen? How do hospital security protocols work?
It is normal for parents to be unprepared for this because you never imagine it could happen. Obviously, there has been an unacceptable failure on the part of the hospital, but it is worth taking into account the safety keys that you should know when your baby is born.
To avoid any bad experience like this, or a worse misfortune, it is tried in any case that from the moment the baby is born , it is not separated from the mother at any time until discharge from the hospital .
Three safety keys you should know when your baby is born
1. Newborn tests at the bedside
All medical tests, explorations, controls or check-ups that are done to the newborn in the first hours of life must be carried out at the bedside. That is, always inside the room , never outside it.
Whether it’s a doctor who comes to check the baby’s condition or a nurse to give him a vaccine or do a test, such as a heel prick, it has to be in the room itself.
Anyone entering the room must identify themselves as hospital personnel.
2. Or have the father accompany the baby
If it is not possible, for example, if the baby is taken outside the room to bathe him, he must always be accompanied by a relative , who is generally the father, or the mother if he is able, or both. If not, a grandfather, a grandmother or any relative. If there is no one to accompany the baby out of the room, it will be done at another time.
In some hospitals, the baby is bathed in the room itself, and more and more people choose not to bathe them since it is not necessary. It is only cleaned of traces of blood or vernix in the delivery room.
3. The baby should never leave the room unaccompanied
From the moment of delivery in which the mother and the baby are identified, and the footprints are taken, the mother-baby binomial should not be separated under any circumstances .
From the delivery room, mother and baby are taken to the room together, or if the mother stays in the resuscitation room after the caesarean section, ideally she can be recovering with her skin-to-skin baby, who does not lose contact with her, being calmer, regulating temperature better and having the opportunity to do her first breastfeed. If this is not possible, the baby will always be accompanied by the father or another relative.
How is the newborn identified? The identification consists of an identical and exclusive barcode for the mother and the baby that consists of five pieces: a bracelet for the mother, another for the newborn -both with inviolable closure-, cord clip and two stickers, one for the clinical history and another for the health identification document.
This is intended to avoid any confusion between babies that could lead to an accidental exchange as happened 19 years ago in a hospital in Logroño, in which two babies born on the same day were exchanged and lived crossed lives with families that did not belong to them during years.