By Carol Mulligan
The Sudbury Star
November 11, 2007
Sudbury Regional Hospital officials insist security measures already in
place at hospital sites are being strictly enforced as they search for
ways to improve the safety of patients after last week's infant
abduction at St. Joseph's Health Centre.
But The Sudbury Star has uncovered a serious breach of existing security
policy and reported it to the hospital's administration.
Despite the fact hospital managers, employees and physicians at all four
hospital sites have been repeatedly warned to wear their identification
badges since Nov. 2, one hospital physician has failed to do so on two
Sudbury Regional Hospital spokeswoman Viviane Lapointe told The Star on
Friday that several memos have been issued to everyone concerned,
reinforcing the requirement that anyone who works at the hospital must
wear photo identification badges while they are on duty.
"Our policy is, if you forget (your badge) at home, you are sent home to
get it," Lapointe said late Friday morning.
Several sessions at which new badges were issued have been held at all
hospital sites since the Nov. 1 abduction of a day-old baby girl from
her mother's room. Physicians' and nurses' schedules were taken into
account when the photography sessions were booked.
Despite the requirement and the hospital's insistence it is enforcing
it, Star reporter Lara Bradley observed something unsettling just after
9 a.m. Friday.
Bradley visited the maternity ward on the third-floor at the St.
Joseph's site to obtain the names of infants born this week. The names
of new arrivals are published every Monday in The Sudbury Star as a
service to readers.
Bradley was stopped by a security guard posted on the floor and asked to
identify herself, which she did. She then witnessed an exchange between
a man wearing green hospital scrubs and the security official.
"The security guard asked whether he was a visitor or a staff member,"
said Bradley of the man who appeared to be a hospital employee. The man
confirmed he worked at the hospital and the guard asked to see his
The man told the guard he had forgotten his ID badge, said Bradley.
The man in scrubs invited the guard to accompany him to the stairwell,
on his way out of the maternity area after the guard explained he didn't
recognize the man's face.
Bradley said she heard the man tell the guard: "Don't worry. You'll get
used to me."
Lapointe told The Star the employee identification policy has been
rigidly enforced since last Friday.
When told what Bradley had witnessed, Lapointe promised to investigate
the exchange between the man in hospital garb and the security guard.
"I appreciate that those incidents are being reported to us and we will
follow up," said Lapointe. She also said "we would tell you that that is
unacceptable," if such an incident had occurred.
After checking into the complaint, Lapointe said it turned out the
employee questioned by the security guard was a physician - the same
physician who earlier in the week also forgot to wear his photo identity
badge to work.
She said the security guard recognized the man as a doctor after
questioning him earlier in the week when he forgot his ID badge. But
Bradley insists that is not what she heard.
She stands by her report the security guard did not seem to recognize
the man later identified as a physician.
Lapointe said managers will be told again next week that anyone working
at the hospital is to wear photo ID when on duty. The only exceptions
are operating room staff who cannot wear their badges in common areas of
the hospital for hygienic reasons.
Lapointe said complaints about hospital workers not wearing
identification that is readily visible will be taken seriously by the
hospital and investigated.
Meanwhile, Sudbury hospital officials are preparing a presentation to be
given Tuesday evening to the hospital s board of directors on how
security can be improved after last week's abduction.
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