Security at Tygerberg Hospital Heightened after Disappearance of Baby | Western Cape Government


Security at Tygerberg Hospital Heightened after Disappearance of Baby

26 July 2009
Following the alleged incident at Tygerberg Hospital where a 14-day old baby disappeared on Friday evening, the Western Cape Department of Health confirmed the following security measures at Tygerberg Hospital:

- Electronic access-controlled door
- Visitors are screened for visiting,
- Non-visiting-hours visits are strictly controlled
- Nurses do rounds during visiting times
- Visitors are usually escorted out by ward staff
- CCTV cameras in place

Both the family and staff have been receiving counseling by the Social Worker. The hospital's existing baby safety security policy has been urgently reviewed and will be strengthened. Additional security measures have been adopted, which stipulates that nurses will now individually let visitors out of the ward at the exit door. Babies without mothers will be cared for at all times by the presence of a nurse - especially during visiting hours. Additional agency staff may be sourced to enable this.

Following an operations meeting today at the hospital it was found that security guards will be placed at all neonatal and postnatal wards to cover both daytime & night-time visiting hours. The current security consists of a combination of the hospital's own security staff and that of a security company. This is similar to other hospitals. On an average night there is about 40 security guards on the premises with 35 employed by the security company and 5 employed by the hospital. Visitors with and without babies will be tagged and extended visitors will be reduced. Staff is continuously educating mothers on the safekeeping of their babies.

Visitors will be required to provide the name of the mother & baby that they wish to visit. The security guard will be provided each day with a list of the mothers & babies in the ward. Those visitors unable to provide a listed name, will be denied access.

All neonatal & postnatal wards will have only one common entrance and exit point. Only immediate relatives (grandparents and fathers) will be permitted to visit. No visitor will be allowed in with a baby such that there may be doubt on the exit as to whether the baby is their own or not.

Babies without mothers will be located to one area only. All visitors will be issued with visiting cards, which need to be returned to the security guards on exiting the ward. Visiting times will be rigidly enforced.

The logistical process of having dedicated security cameras at the entrance / exit door of all neonatal & postnatal wards have started. All newborns whose mothers are in an ICU / High Care Unit will be grouped together and security intensified around these grouped babies.

Babies without mothers will have a dedicated nurse posted to them during all visiting hours until the last visitor has left. The tagging of all babies born at the hospital with radio-frequency tags will be urgently investigated in terms of cost and logistics.

Extended counseling will be offered to everyone affected by the incident and staff will also be referred to the Employee Wellness Programme.

The Western Cape Department of Health is working closely with the SAPS, and security camera footage has been handed over to the SAPS. It is now a SAPS matter, and the investigation must take its course.


Media Enquiries: 

Note to all media: Media enquiries that relate to the investigation, must be directed to Capt FC van Wyk: 021 417 7423.

Issued by the Directorate: Communications for the Western Cape Department of Health.

Mark van der Heever
Deputy Director
Directorate: Communications
Western Cape Department of Health
Tel: 021 483 3716
Fax: 021 483 6169