Missing Toddler Found; UNC Hospitals Review Security Measures
Posted September 9, 2004 4:39 a.m. EDT
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Authorities have found a 2-year-old girl who was reported missing from the North Carolina Children's Hospital Wednesday night.
Authorities say Madison Douglas is home with relatives in Greensboro. UNC Hospital officials say they found out about Madison's whereabouts after her father, Robin Anthony Douglas, went to the hospital Thursday morning for a previously scheduled discharge meeting.
Douglas said he took his daughter around 5 p.m. Wednesday.
"I have the right to take my daughter when I want to," he said.
No criminal charges are planned. However, the Department of Social Services was supposed to take part in the discharge meeting to discuss burns that were found on Madison.
Cynthia Douglas, Madison's mother, said the girl was doing fine and wanted her home. She said they were concerned that DSS officials might take her daughter away before they were able to take her back home.
A staff member reported Madison missing Wednesday night after a routine check between 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
"Upon investigation of the incident, what we call a 'code pink' was initiated," said Tom Smith, UNC Hospitals police director.
That meant an extensive hospital search for a missing girl wearing diapers with burns on both her legs and who has difficulty walking.
Hospital officials said they have a state-of-the-art security system in place, but they will not go into detail. However, after Madison's disappearance, the hospital will take a second look at its security.
The state is reviewing the case to see if the hospital was negligent. It should decide in a few days if the situation warrants an investigation.
Officials say Madison's 15-year-old sister was running bath water and walked away for a moment when Madison jumped into the tub. She received burns on her legs and feet. Douglas had been at the hospital for 23 days. She was first treated in the burn unit, then transferred to the Children's Hospital.
Madison was reported as a missing person to the National Crime Information Center. Orange County agencies and Greensboro police were also alerted.
The girl's medical condition is stable, so there is no reason for her to remain hospitalized.