Hospital Boosts Security After Bizarre NICU Incident

Man slipped into unit, fed somebody else's baby at Des Moines hospital
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2022 2:13 PM CST
Cops: Man Snuck Into NICU, Fed Stranger's Baby
Police released this image of the suspect, taken from surveillance video.   (Des Moines Police Department)

(Newser) – A hospital in Iowa says it has tightened its security procedures after a strange and disturbing incident last month. Police in Des Moines say a man slipped into the neonatal intensive care unit at the MercyOne medical center and bottle-fed somebody else's baby, KCCI reports. The suspect, who was seen on surveillance footage, then left the hospital. Des Moines Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Paul Parizek tells the Des Moines Register that the suspect misrepresented himself as the infant's father. Parizek says the incident happened at 11:24pm on Dec. 28. He says police are trying to track down the man to find out what his motive was.

"The first question that comes to our minds is 'why?'" Parizek tells KCCI. "The family is obviously very frightened. This is something that would startle any parent." Parizek says the odd incident was "something new to all of us" and definitely isn't the kind of behavior they are used to seeing from child-stealers and other predators. "In this case, there was no harm done to the child and on the surface, no intent to commit any other crime beyond what he did to get in there," he says. Fox 8 reports that the hospital, which describes the incident as "extremely troubling," says it has increased security and staffing at the NICU and infant nurseries. It has also re-educated staff on safety and security policies, including ID checks and sign-in procedures. (Read more Iowa stories.)

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