Hospital Tracks Infants Using Identification Chips
John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Indio is one of more than 80 state health care facilities that tracks newborns with radio frequency identification technology, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
The hospital uses computerized ankle tags to track the infants throughout the hospital and prevent child abductions. The computer system, which was purchased in 2003 for $26,000, also alerts staff if a child has been removed from the maternity ward.
Other hospitals nationwide, including Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton will implant tracking chips in some patients as part of a pilot program. RFID chips "will allow us to access medical information, said Arrowhead Regional spokesperson Jorge Valencia, adding "It has nothing to do with the identification of an individual."
RFID critics say the technology could lead to abuse without government oversight. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) vetoed a bill that would have allowed government agencies to regulate RFID systems, the Press-Enterprise reports (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 10/30).