Newborn goes missing from maternity hospital at 5:00 am

Observer staff reporter

Thursday, January 10, 2019

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SUZETT Whyte, who lost her second child due to pregnancy complications in 2017, was over the moon when she gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

But her joy quickly turned into sorrow after he was snatched from the Victoria Jubilee Hospital (UJH) yesterday morning.

Whyte, 41, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday her second child died at five months due to pre-eclampsia — a pregnancy complication caused by high blood pressure and damage to other vital organs such as the liver or kidneys.

The mother, who suffers from high blood pressure, was slated to give birth today, but she said that she went to the hospital on Tuesday after feeling stinging pain sometime after 3:00 pm. Her pain subsided about 7:00 pm when she gave birth to her second son. She said that she went on Ward Four about midnight and soon fell asleep.

Whyte said approximately 5:00 yesterday morning she was awaken after having a heavy flow of lochia. By this time, she said the lights had been turned on while most of the exhausted mothers slept. Not wanting to wake the mother who was immediately beside her, she said she trusted a woman clad in a denim skirt and a multi-colourered top that was standing and looking through the window and offered to watch her baby while she went to the bathroom.

“I thought she was one of the girls (a mother) when she say, 'Gwaan me will make somebody wipe up that for you.' I left the soap and when mi come back [for it] I saw her standing up there, but me still nah look say something like that ago happen,” she continued.

She said when she returned from her shower only the baby's hat was left on the bed.

Hoping that the baby was crying and that the nurse or a mother tried to comfort him she said she started making checks.

The baby could no tbe found.

She said she alerted a nurse, who referred her to another nurse, after which the police were summoned.

The distraught mother told the Observer yesterday that she was still trying to understand how her baby could have been snatched from the hospital without a trace.

“Mi never think say nobody would be so barefaced at 5' o clock a morning. [I could not believe] somebody would come in and take my baby,” she said, adding that she was told by some of the other mothers on the ward that they had been the woman lingering on the ward during visiting hours on Tuesday.

The distressed mother's pain was made worse when mothers on the ward and security guards accused her of selling the baby.

Meanwhile, the VHJ CEO Colleen Wright admitted to journalists during a press briefing that there could have been a security breach when the baby went missing.

“From reports that I am getting, when the nurse went to report to the security [guard] that the baby was missing the security was not at the post at the time,” Wright said.

“... One of the measures that were put in place was a security at the door. A security should be at the door entering that ward. There is also a security (guard) at the entrance/exit,” she said.

Wright advised the hospital was in the process of installing security cameras.

The CEO said following the theft of a baby from Cornwall Regional Hospital last week the hospital was considering installing CCTV cameras.

“Security is something that you must be constantly looking at as to how it can be upgraded. You cannot take anything for granted, because what has happened is that we think that we have security measures in place because we have the armbands, we have the discharge slip, you have a security manning the floor and entrance, but still something untoward has happened. You can't take security for granted,” she added.

Just last Friday a woman abducted a three-week-old girl in the parking lot at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in St James. The baby was found two days later and the accused arrested.

In the meantime, the kidnapped baby's father, Sinclair Hutton yesterday pleaded for the safe return of the child.

“Mi just a ask anyone who know of anybody who lose a baby or whatever and just have a next baby and no know how dem come by the baby I am begging unnuh please... [help us].”

The 46-year-old father said he is upset the baby disappeared without a trace. “Nobody no see, security, nobody no see; at 5 o'clock in the morning nobody no see nothing. Nobody see anything,” Hutton continued.

“This place is not a chicken coop, you see when you deh country and you have a chicken coop, and that chicken drop out and a mongoose get that chicken … nobody no see nothing and you have a security post and nobody no see nothing,” he said.

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