A new system at McAlester Regional Health Center vastly improved security at the nursery.

MRHC officials researched three systems and toured other hospitals across the state before selecting the Cuddles system — an extensive, integrated security system that helps security quickly respond to infant abduction attempts.

“It’s a great project to do and it’s a wonderful time to get it moving for families,” said McAlester Regional Health Center Foundation Board President Kevin Priddle.

Priddle said the foundation had raised more than $55,000 over a few years for an infant security system. The foundation realized last September it was at about $20,000 and pushed to get donations before MRHC committed to paying off the rest, Priddle said.

According to information available on the company’s website, Cuddles infant protection system enables hospitals to admit and discharge babies and more efficiently generate reports.

“We have a system in place now and it works great,” said MRHC Obstetrics Nurse Manager Megan Monks said. “We’ve had no issues, no concerns about it not working correctly.”

“We’ve had positive feedback from parents,” Monks added.

The company’s website states the Cuddles system can be integrated with wired and wireless nurse call systems.

MRHC’s system has several alarms: band alarm, door alarm, door ajar, supervisor, fire alarm, and loiter. Alarms are activated in various ways, including if a band looses contact with the child’s skin, if an infant tag gets close to any of the department’s exit, if someone loiters too long at a door, if a door is slightly open, and more.

Bryce Segotta, an MRHC security officer, said the system offers a deterrent and helps security officers quickly respond to an abduction attempt and identify any potential threats.

“If someone sets a door off, the alarm will light up and tell you where an attempt is happening,” Segotta said.

Segotta said installation of the system took about four weeks — including the alarms, locks at every entrance of the department, and security improvements.

Installation required changing locks and integrating technology to shut down the entire wing in case of an abduction attempt.

According to the company’s website, Cuddles systems incorporate light-weight, self-adjusting bands with tags that fit around the babies’ ankles. The ankle bracelets are made of a soft polyester blend and the tag will never contact baby’s skin, the website states.

If a bracelet is cut or removed, it activates an alarm and the entire floor of the hospital is locked down, Monks said.

“Until we see what the problem is and we actually shut the alarm off, you still can’t get out,” Monks said. “It doesn’t just off for a little bit.”

Contact Adrian O’Hanlon III at aohanlon@mcalesternews.com

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