One door away.
That’s how close Vineland Police said Lisa Maines, 34, got to the labor and delivery unit at South Jersey Healthcare Regional Medical Center.
“Very scary. I think in over 20 years of being in this field, I never experienced this on this close a level,” said Marjorie Pollock, RN/MSN, the director of women’s and children’s services at the hospital.
Maines certainly looked the part, investigators said Thursday. The Millville woman was wearing scrubs, official-looking badges and carrying two large bags when she walked into Regional Medical Center’s emergency department around 1 a.m. Wednesday, police said.
According to authorities, she was then granted access to other parts of the hospital. Police said she used the name of an actual employee to try to get into the locked maternity unit, where several newborns were at the time. Maines is a mother of four but her children are not in her care, detectives told NBC 10 News.
“Her state of mind put her in a position that we believe that she would have taken a child if she had been able to gain access to that child,” said Vineland Police Lt. Tom Ulrich.
A labor and delivery unit secretary -- identified by hospital officials as Joy Gant -- who answered a video intercom became suspicious and refused to open the doors for Maines, police said. Hospital security officers were summoned and questioned Maines, at which point she claimed to be an undercover DEA agent and a Florida State Trooper, investigators said.
Guards escorted Maines out of the hospital and police were notified of the alleged incident later that morning. Investigators tracked down Maines in Millville and arrested her on the serious charges of criminal attempted kidnapping, criminal attempted burglary, and impersonating a law enforcement officer.
“Everything that happened from beginning to end is going to be reviewed to see if we can do something better,” said Charlie Schiapelli, the hospital’s director of safety and security, when asked about why security personnel allegedly granted Maines access to the hospital and then allowed her to leave before police were called.
Police said there is evidence that Maines was purporting to be a midwife. She even claimed on a birthing-oriented web site that she is able to assist with births, police said. Investigators told NBC 10 News they have found no evidence that she has such qualifications.
“When our detectives interviewed her, she said her intentions were just to hold the baby,” Ulrich said.
No one answered the door when NBC 10 News stopped by Maines’ home Thursday afternoon. She is being evaluated at a local psychiatric facility, police said.
Meanwhile, both authorities and hospital administrators offered words of praise for Gant, the secretary, who they said stopped Lisa Maines before she was able to get close to any newborns.
“She’s our hero. We love her…She protected our staff and patients and babies,” Pollock said.
Police Think Imposter Was After Babies
Woman allegedly dressed as nurse to get into maternity ward
One door away.