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Boone Hospital Center no longer releases birth announcements

Thursday, March 6, 2008 | 4:59 p.m. CST; updated 4:39 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — Boone Hospital Center has followed Columbia Regional Hospital in deciding to stop releasing birth announcements.

Parents previously had the option to release the name of their newborn baby to local news outlets, but Boone Hospital’s decision is part of a national trend to keep the information private in hopes of protecting the safety of newborns and their families.

Kim Kitson, director of corporate communications for BJC Healthcare, said the decision to withhold birth information is not a corporate policy and is made at the hospital level. Boone Hospital is administered by BJC.

“I am not aware that any of our hospitals in St. Louis have the same policy,” Kitson said.

Kyle Sheafer, director of marketing for Boone Hospital, said in a February press release that releasing birth information is not in the best interest of patients’ security and safety.

There have only been a few incidents nationwide of kidnapping or abductions tied to birth announcements, but Sheafer said that’s too many.

“We felt like we had a good opportunity to eliminate any opportunity for a security violation or an opportunity to put any of our new parents in danger,” Sheafer said Wednesday.

But some residents love to share their good news with the public.

After the birth of their new baby, Emily van Schenkhof and her husband, Ben van Schenkhof, shared their baby picture in the Sunday edition of the Missourian.

“I love reading about people who we don’t know,” Emily said about new baby notices in the local publications.

For those parents who still want others to see pictures of their family’s new addition, Boone Hospital is offering an alternate method via the hospital’s Web site.

The individual Web sites can be accessed only with passwords that parents give to friends and family.

“Parents have the option of using our secure Web site, where they can share the good news,” Sheafer said.


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