SAN ANTONIO - A mother and father whose new baby was born three weeks early and required neonatal intensive care were dealt another stressor when they became the targets of a creepy caller at North Central Baptist Hospital.
“I answered the phone and he said he just needed to speak to the mother of the baby,” said George Cardenas, whose wife spoke with the caller. “And I just handed her the phone because we get those calls all day in there, from the nurses and doctors.”
Cardenas’ wife does not want to be identified because she worries about her safety now that the unidentified man on the other end of the phone has her personal information.
The caller told the woman that she was qualified to receive free diapers.
“He needs our address, phone number, full name. At some point, he asked the baby's sex,” Cardenas said. “And as soon as he got his information, he started asking perverted questions.”
Those questions were about the appearance of the woman’s breasts. Cardenas' wife immediately hung up, feeling violated.
The couple filed a report with the San Antonio Police Department, but first, they alerted a nurse.
“She's, like, ‘This has been going on for a while already. We are so sorry this happened to you. Someone should have told you,’” Cardenas said. “Immediately, I was like, ‘Yeah, you should have told me because now we've compromised our son's safety, our safety. He knows where we live. He knows the name that's required to get into the NICU to see our son.”
Cardenas and his wife said they have a friend who received a similar call when she had a baby at North Central Baptist eight months ago.
The caller told the woman she was eligible to receive discounted nursing bras. That time, however, the caller did not ask the woman for her personal information. Instead, he asked her to lower the temperature in her hospital room and take off her clothes.
North Central Baptist began receiving these kinds of calls a year ago. A hospital spokesperson said the hospital started investigating and the calls stopped. But in the last few weeks, they started up again.
Two of those calls were reported to authorities. The hospital has tried tracing the number, but that's been unsuccessful. Now, all calls to that postpartum wing are being routed through a nurses station. It’s the hospital's way of screening the calls before they reach parents.
North Central Baptist is also telling families that no one should be calling rooms and asking for their personal information. Cardenas feels that’s a step in the right direction, but he wishes he and his wife would have known about the calls.
“You’re having an incident here that’s going on that's out of your control. That’s understandable. But we would have screened that phone call better had you let us know,” he said.
Cardenas stressed that his family's experience at North Central Baptist Hospital was excellent, despite the disturbing call.
San Antonio police said they are not aware of any other similar incidents.
University Health System and Methodist Healthcare have not reported patients receiving those kinds of calls.
Baptist Health System released the following statment:
“The privacy and safety of our patients is of the utmost importance, and we have taken aggressive measures to prevent further unwanted calls to our patients. The San Antonio Police Department is working with us to identify the person or persons responsible for this inappropriate behavior. We continue to be vigilant and proactive in safeguarding those we serve.”
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