Cornwall hospital has $65k security system to prevent abductions

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Cornwall Community Hospital

CORNWALL, Ontario - When Cornwall Community Hospital CEO Jeanette Despatie heard days ago that a child had been abducted from a Quebec hospital it's not surprising that a chill would run up her spine.

Fortunately the Cornwall hospital has a security system in place that prevents such abductions, but the reality of the crime has hit home.

"Basically we have a security system in place that prevents abductions," said Despatie.

The system, known as "Hugs", equips all patients at the hospital under the age of eight with a tag. The tag is monitored by a security system that activates door locks and shuts down elevators when the tag comes within proximity of a sensor.

"You won't be able to get off the floor," said Despatie of the system that was installed two years ago at a cost of $65,000. "We also talk to new moms about making sure when someone comes up to check on your child, that they are a staff member."

As well, new moms and their babies are fitted with matching ID so that hospital staff can likewise ensure the proper people are interacting with newborns.

"Don't be offended if we ask to see your ID," said Despatie. "We want to make sure this is the parent of the baby.

"These are the types of things people can expect."

Valerie Poulin-Collins, 21, has been charged with kidnapping a person under 14, and kidnapping and confinement of a person under 16 after a newborn girl was taken from a Trois-Rivieres hospital on Monday, police said.

She will undergo a five-day psychiatric evaluation before an official court hearing is held next week to determine if and when she will stand trial, it has been reported.

Geographic location: Ontario

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