My wife works as a staff nurse at a hospital, in the Mother-Baby unit. Mother-Baby is the unit where the mothers and babies go after the mothers deliver the babies.
It is quite a fortress. If you want to get in, you have to get permission; the doors are locked. To get in, you have to pick up a phone outside the unit that is hotwired to the unit inside and ask permission to enter. If the unit receptionist grants it, she pushes a button and the door opens (then closes automatically behind you).
But it is a Hotel California. Once inside, you cannot leave unless you get permission. To get out, you have to ask the unit receptionist for permission to leave. If she grants it, she pushes a button and the door opens. If she doesn’t, you get to live out your remaining days in a Mother-Baby unit. (They do have bathrooms.)
I have been told that they do this for security reasons. Simply put, they don’t want anyone to steal a baby. (I am told it has happened before, and I give them the benefit of the doubt. In fact, I believe a baby was stolen from a Texas hospital within the last few weeks.) So they have put a Great Wall around it and created a Great Bottleneck—one door to rule them all.
This locked-from-both-sides automagic door is the only way in or out of the unit. There is no alternate or back-alley exception, as far as I know. I know you can take an elevator up to the Labor and Delivery Unit (a design feature even I can appreciate), but I imagine that any babynapper wannabe would have difficulties using this as an escape route. So, realistically, the One Door is the only way in or out of Mother-Baby.
What I find intriguing about this is that on the inside, the One Door is marked with a clear, large sign that explains the rules of exit. It says, “Emergency Exit Only.”
””Homeland security, indeed.