KAKINADA: Ganta Lakshmi (22) was inconsolable when she lost her child. She had no clue that something like this would happen in a time frame of 10 minutes. When she realised what had happened she rushed to the security who then informed the hospital authorities and police. In a matter of minutes, she and her husband were thrust into a nightmare, and the couple feared if they would ever see their newborn again.
“Around 11 am, my wife was taking rest when a woman who covered her face with a scarf, took away the baby from the hospital,” recalls the father of the newborn who was stolen from the Kakinada GGH.
On Sunday, he thanked Collector Karthikeya Mishra, SP Vishal Gunni and DSP (Law and Order) Varma for restoring the baby to them in three days.
Pointing out that the disturbing occurrence was the first such incident in seven years, the hospital authorities are now mulling beefing up security, “It has happened at the Kakinada GGH for the first time in seven years and has definitely made us rethink security measures,” a senior hospital official told TNIE.
The hospital authorities, however, insisted that security was in place at the time of the incident. “At least 10-15 babies are born everyday at the hospital. We have increased security outside the gynaecology and pediatric wards,” hospital superintendent Dr Raghavendra Rao explained, adding that the issue of upping the security further would be taken up with higher authorities. There are total 25 departments in the Kakinada GGH. The construction of a mother and child block is underway.
2007: The baby of Ananthalakshmi, a resident of Santhanapuri Colony, Godari Gunta, Kakinada, was stolen by a woman, who hoodwinked the mother assuring her that she would take care of the baby when she went out to buy snacks. Te baby could not be traced till date.
Ananthalakshmi and her husband were shattered as there are no clues about their stolen newborn. “My wife keeps on lamenting and asking me about our son repeatedly,” said husband of Ananthalakshmi.
“Never in her wildest imagination did my wife think the lady will disappear with our baby,” he recalled adding, “The woman told my wife she was delighted to hold our baby in her arms and was pampering the infant for some time, after which she moved away and disappeared. I still have hopes that the police will find my newborn.”
2010: A newborn delivered by a maternity ward patient was stolen by a childess woman from the Kakinada GGH. The then SP Gattamaneni Srinivas with the help of CCTV footage nabbed the culprit in two days and restored the baby to her mother.
The menace of baby stealers
Babies being stolen from hospitals are not new in the district. though they have come down in the last few years. To tackle this problem, the Kakinada GGH had installed 20 CCTV cameras in 2009. SG Solutions had installed 90 CCTV cameras on July 14, 2016. The Kakinada Municipal Corporation had given the contract of installing the CCTV cameras to SG Solutions. But it appears security staff aren’t as vigilant as they are supposed to be at all hours.
“It appears that the security staff don’t keep tabs on who is coming in and who is going out properly,” one of the patient‘s kin at the hospital said. There may be a reason for it.
The 64 security guards, who are working at the Kakinada GGH, have not been paid salaries for the last three months! They had recently met District Collector Karthikeya Mishra and urged him to address their grievances. “But no concrete action has been taken so far though the collector responded positively to our representation,” one of the security guards said on condition of anonymity.