Reblog: Successful Infant Abduction Demonstrates Danger of “Alarm Fatigue”

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A father exited the maternity a Medical Center with his 2-day old infant wrapped in blankets inside a duffel bag to avoid a visit by child welfare workers. An investigative report by 3TV Phoenix including security camera footage shows hospital staff twice clearing alarms triggered by the security bracelet worn by the infant while the father tried to exit a locked emergency door. After triggering a 3rd alarm, he was able to exit the maternity ward and make his way to the main lobby.

A father abducted his own infant after the baby tested positive for meth/marijuana in her system.

The Medical Center’s website tells expectant mothers to “Rest assured, a stay will not only be comfortable, but secure as well, since we have a state-of-the-art security system to protect new parents and babies while they are here.” In this case, the physical assets of the security system functioned as designed, but an incorrect response to the alarms led to a significant breach in security. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children recommends that facilities conduct drills annually to make sure staff understands what to do if there is an incident and how to respond to the security measures that are in place. Surprise drills and simulated infant abductions demonstrate the ability of staff and security procedures to prevent an abductor from exiting a facility. Making sure that everyone is properly trained and understands how the infant protection system works is critical. According to the Joint Commission, improper use of infant security systems is a key factor in facilities failing an audit.

Alarm fatigue is a growing and very real problem in hospital environments. Even a casual observer can’t help but notice how many beeping machines are part of the modern medical facility. In addition to monitoring patients’ vital signs and medication schedule, facility-wide alarm systems protect against things like fire, theft, HVAC malfunction and infant abduction. A recent Joint Commission alert to hospitals calling attention to the problem of noise fatigue warned that “desensitized” hospital workers sometimes ignore these warnings. In this case, the immediate response to the infant abduction alarm was to shut it off – while conversing with a nervous looking man with a duffle bag trying to use an emergency exit. It is hard to imagine that alarm fatigue did not play a role in this inappropriate response.

At Accutech, we are keenly aware of the role our RFID security, access control and two-way communication products play in hospital and nursing care environments and take comprehensive measures to ensure that our products do not inadvertently add to this growing problem. Our RFID security systems employ technology and design that minimizes the risk of interference from electronic devices and has a proven record of alarm integrity – boasting the lowest rate of false alarms in the industry. The technology in modern maternity wards places tremendous demands on the staff entrusted with their newborn patients’ care. All Accutech products are designed and built with this in mind and aim to assist in elevating that care by minimizing unnecessary interference and distraction and offering features that allow our systems to be easily customized for each environment.

Cuddles infant protection systems are among of the most interference free on the market, using technology that minimizes interference from other devices and reduces false alarms. There are many reasons why facilities choose to install and depend on Accutech products: lower total cost of ownership, advanced features, lower rate of false alarms, full compliance, the most comprehensive customer support program in the industry (including free 24-hour technical support and a full one-year warranty), and a dealer network that ensures local service. The Accutech advantage can help to ensure that your staff spends more time caring for patients and less time managing systems.

To learn more about how your facilities could be better protected by software-enhanced Cuddles Infant Protection, Kidz Pediatric Elopement, or ResidentGuard Wander Management, contact us today.

The original article can be found here.