x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Rumours of baby abduction from hospital 'false'

Hospital goes into lockdown after person leaves emergency exist carrying a car seat.

ABU DHABI // Rumours circulated via text messages, social media and the Blackberry Messenger service that a baby was abducted from Corniche Hospital in the capital are false, said SEHA, Abu Dhabi’s Health Services Company.

An individual carrying a car seat exited the hospital via an emergency exit. The alarm from the emergency exit caused the hospital to declare a Code Amber - standard procedure when any suspicious activity related to a child leaving the hospital without authorisation is suspected, said Clyde Eder, chief operating officer of SEHA.

“Corniche Hospital did in fact call a Code Amber when someone exited from an emergency exit carrying a child safety seat and then re-entered the hospital when asked to stop by a security guard,” he said.

“Following Corniche Hospital’s standard procedure, all access was restricted in and out of the hospital until all babies were accounted for. The individual with the child seat was found and was interviewed.”

Ron Lavater, CEO of the hospital, said that once all babies were accounted for, the Code Amber was lifted.

“We are always vigilant, even in a country as safe as the UAE,” he said.

Hospital officials suspect that the hospital’s community - family and friends inside the hospital or outside trying to get in or out - were the ones to circulate the rumour out of misunderstanding, once they realised the hospital was in lockdown.

More than 250,000 babies have been born at Corniche Hospital since it opened in 1979. There has never been a child abduction from the hospital.

hkhalaf@thenational.ae