Hospital talks newborn safety after Amber Alert

Posted at 5:19 PM, Jul 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-11 18:33:20-04

A three day old baby boy is back in state custody and his mother is behind bars after a Sunday night Amber Alert is canceled.  Hospitals say they work to prevent incidents like this from happening.

The Norfolk Police Department says Bentley Tuttle was declared a Ward of the State when he was born Friday.  His mother, apparently tried to take him home anyway.  An Amber Alert was issued late Sunday night for the young boy.  He and his mother were located Monday morning at a home in Pierce, NE.

Local hospitals say custody issues are something they deal with, and that security and social workers collaborate on safety measures.

Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk, where the newborn was abducted, says his mother cut off his ankle monitor.  That monitor prevents babies from leaving the building.

Jeff Farmer and Jessica Winternheimer work in security and social work at Methodist Women's Hospital and say the situation can be intense when a child is taken into NE Department of Health and Human Service custody immediately after birth.  They say a court order for custody can be issued if a mother is doing drugs during pregnancy, or if Child Protective Services has a history with the mother.

"Our primary concern here is the safety of the infant who is our patient, I think our team really looks at it from that standpoint, but we also have a lot of compassion and understanding for the mother and potential father of the baby involved,” Winterheimer, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, explained.

Farmer says all newborns have ankle monitors so, at any time, staff knows exactly where they're at.  It also locks down the floor if the monitor tries to leave the floor.

They also have protocols, procedures, electronic surveillance, and training for the nursing staff to make sure if an abduction is even attempted the staff knows of the breach immediately.  They also try to deescalate situations.

"It's very important because they're our most vulnerable patients the infants, so great measure and great planning is taken to make sure their as safe as possible,” said Farmer, the Assistant Leader of Security for Methodist Women’s Hospital.

CHI Alegent, and the Nebraska Medical Center say they also use an electronic monitoring system for the newborns.  Floors will lock down if a monitor gets too close or if a monitor is cut off, and depending on the hospital the alarm will sound.