Mother Wakes In Hospital To Find Baby In Another Patient's Room, Nurses Act Like It's NBD

by Meredith Bland
Originally Published: 

She was told by nurses that the patient “meant no harm”

Woah, Nelly. I can’t…it’s just…that’s not…but what about…I never…damn.

On Friday, August 5th, Lory Beth Synder’s four-month-old daughter, Lorelai, was admitted to the pediatric unit at NEA Baptist Hospital in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Snyder eventually fell asleep with her daughter in her hospital room. When she woke up about an hour later, her daughter was gone.

In a post describing the incident on her Facebook page, she wrote that when she found her daughter, “…she was in another woman’s hospital room, in that woman’s arms, with a room full of six or seven nurses just laughing and playing with her and Lorelai.” Her diaper bag was in the room with some its contents removed, as well as the child’s crib and IV pole. She took her daughter out of the woman’s arms, despite the woman (who was apparently just another patient at the hospital) telling Snyder that she should leave the baby with her because Snyder “needed to just go rest.”

As if all of that isn’t terrifying and awful enough, the nurses, according to Snyder, were unconcerned. Wrote Snyder, “Three nurses followed me [out of the room]. They all trying to assure me that my child was in no danger, that they new [sic] the patient, and she meant no harm.”

Snyder and her family were then moved to a secure ICU room for the rest of their stay. She called the police, who told her that, according to Snyder’s Facebook post, “…no crime was committed because Harris didn’t ‘intend’ to rape or molest my child.”

As someone who worked in a hospital for over five years and taught people about privacy laws and how to respond in abduction scenarios, this entire incident flabbergasts me.

Flabber. Gasts. Me.

Based on the mother’s account, what happened here was that a bunch of nurses brought someone else’s baby to the room of a favorite patient so that she could play with it without the mother’s knowledge or permission. I would describe the many ways that this is wrong, but I am so stunned by it that my brain is not able to form the words needed. So let me just put it this way: this is 100% bad. And I mean “bad” as in “laws were broken and morals and common sense were disregarded.” Bad bad bad. No good. All bad.

For their part, the hospital has released the following statement:

An incident occurred in one of our patient care units (not labor and delivery) on Friday involving two patients, one of them a pediatric patient. While we cannot go into details because of patient privacy laws, two of our nurses acted immediately, followed all protocols, and rapidly brought the situation under control. Because of their quick work, all patients remained safe. Our nurses quickly secured the pediatric patient and mother and fully cooperated with police, who declined to take action against anyone. We are grateful that everyone is safe, and we wish everyone the best and continued good health.

Obviously, they have a different version of what happened. That’s not a surprise, though there is no reason right now to think that Snyder made up the details about the nurses’ reactions. Also, the fact that Snyder “declined to take action against anyone” means nothing. She had a sick infant and was probably too shocked, confused, and relieved to think about pressing charges at the time. It shouldn’t be on this patient to decide whether or not action needed to be taken. If this happened the way Snyder says it did then it is so egregious that the hospital should be on its hands and knees begging for her forgiveness and firing everybody.

In the meantime, Snyder (whose daughter was eventually diagnosed with a milk allergy) is grateful to have Lorelai safe at home. “We were lucky. Many parents do not get as lucky as we have. Child Abduction isn’t something that should be so easily dismissed.”

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