Penn State Hershey Medical Center designated a Safe Haven for newborns

August 05, 2004

Hershey, Pa. -- Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center (along with all other medical hospitals across the state of Pennsylvania) has been designated by law as a Safe Haven for newborn babies. A new policy is now in place at the medical center to ensure compliance with the Newborn Protection Act, Act 201 of 2002, which permits a parent of a newborn to leave his or her child in the care of a hospital.

The Newborn Protection Act protects newborns that might otherwise be abandoned or harmed by permitting a parent to leave a newborn at a hospital without fear of criminal prosecution when his or her child has not been a victim of child abuse or some other crime. Compliance with the new Safe Haven law is the responsibility of every employee.

All employees of Penn State Hershey Medical Center need to be aware of the procedures in the event they are approached by a parent who would like to leave their baby in the care of the medical center:

1) An employee must take the newborn into protective custody and immediately take the newborn to the Emergency Department triage area. (Parents may be asked, but are not required to provide information about the newborn's medical history and any identifying information; this information should be provided to the Emergency Department, if obtained.)

2) Emergency staff will perform a medical evaluation of the baby and provide any care necessary to protect the physical health and safety of the baby.

3) Newborns will be registered as "Baby Safehaven 1," "Baby Safehaven 2," etc.

4) Emergency staff will immediately notify social services and security personnel. Emergency staff will then notify the administrator-on-call, the nursing house manager and the strategic services representative on-call.

5) Social services will immediately notify Dauphin County Children and Youth Services. Security will immediately notify Derry Township Police.

6) Security personnel also will notify risk management and quality services.

7) The Department of Pediatrics will determine the disposition and medical care of the newborn in coordination with Children and Youth Services requirements.

Unless he or she fails to accept the newborn in accordance with the policy, no employee shall be subject to civil liability or criminal penalty solely for complying with the provisions of this regulation.

For more information, please contact the Department of Risk Management at (717) 531-6302 or refer to the Department of Public Welfare Web site at http://www.dpw.state.pa.us/ocyf/OCYFSafeHavenHome.asp

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Last Updated March 19, 2009