New system at Thomson Medical to tag babies, mothers correctly

A new tagging system will give parents at Thomson Medical Centre (TMC) additional peace of mind in ensuring that the right baby is matched with the right mother at all times during their stay at the hospital.

The new system uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology with mother and baby fitted with pre-matched tags once they arrival at the maternity ward. This is in addition to the manual tags they wear in the labour ward, said a statement by Thomson Medical on Wednesday.

When the baby is brought to his mother, a green light will flash and a pleasant tune will be played on the mother's tag if both tags match. If they do not match, a red light will flash instead and a warning beep will alert the mother and ward nurse.

Parents can also press a button on the mother's tag at any time to check if the baby matches. Thomson Medical is the first maternity hospital in Singapore with a tagging system that comes with such an 'on-demand' feature to allow parents to verify if they have the right baby at any time. The baby's tag also has a skin-detection feature, where an alert will sound if the tag becomes loose and is likely to fall off.

Last November, two babies went home with the wrong parents, the first such incident in the 154-year-old KK Women's and Children's Hospital. A tag belonging to one of the babies had come off and could not be found. It was replaced with a wrong tag.

Thomson Medical's new tagging system also allows hospital staff to detect the real-time location of every mother-and-baby paired tags. When the mother and baby are ready to be discharged from the hospital, the ward nurse will ensure both tags match before they are removed.