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article imageFamilies charge Beyonce's security kept them from their newborns

By Joan Firstenberg     Jan 11, 2012 in Lifestyle
New York - UPDATE: New York State health officials have just dismissed complaints from parents who claimed they were barred from entering a hospital's neonatal unit to see their own newborns because singer Beyonce was there giving birth to her daughter.
The New York State Health Department is investigating complaints that Lenox Hill Hospital went out of its way to keep diva Beyonce's delivery so private that parents of other new babies were kept from seeing them. Pete Constantakes is a state health department spokesman,
“We have received complaints. Whenever we receive a complaint, we look into it. It’s not necessarily an investigation. It could be a review. Most likely in this case, it would be an investigation.”
The New York Daily News reports that it is aware of at least two families who were prevented from visiting their newborns in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit because muscle-men who appeared to be security guards barred them from going there.
Beyonce and Jay-Z deny that they took over the maternity wing in order to insure privacy. But the Daily Mail reports that the couple is alleged to have spent $1.3 million to seal off and redecorate a wing within the maternity ward, complete with bulletproof glass and ultra-tight security measures, including burly guards.
A hospital spokesperson says this is simply not true.
'The family is housed in an executive suite at the hospital and is being billed the standard rate for those accommodations.'
But a new father, 30-year-old Neil Coulon of Brooklyn says his wife's stress level after delivering two premature girls was tripled when Beyonce's towering bodyguards allegedly barred him from the sixth-floor neonatal intensive care unit.
Coulon says that wasn't the only problem. Beyonce's security allegedly cleared a waiting room of his relatives - some who had driven four and a half hours to the Manhattan hospital to see his newborn twin girls. Coulon describes the star as treating the hospital like an "exclusive nightclub. He says his dealings with her guards was intolerable.
"Three times they stopped me from entering or exiting the NICU and it happened once on Friday - just because they wanted to use the hallway."
Mr. Coulon, who lives in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, (which is also where Jay-Z comes from) wants an apology from the stars for their appalling treatment of other parents.
'I know they spent $1.3 million and I'm just a contractor from Bed-Stuy but the treatment we received was not okay. My wife is just terribly upset. She had a C-section. She gave birth to twins. She is sore. Nobody needs this. This is the NICU. Nobody cares if you’re a celebrity. Nobody is star-gazing. They just want to see their children. To have that circus roll into town and ruin our parade was unpleasant.'
On Tuesday, the hospital's executive director, Frank Danza, said he also has ordered an internal probe into the complaints. He conceded that certain unusual steps were taken to accommodate the famous couple, like having security cameras covered up with tape. But Danza says he's already spoken with the half of the dozen or so new parents who were giving birth at the hospital over the weekend, and none of them complained that they were blocked from seeing their newborns.
“They did communicate that they noticed some enhanced security, but they never felt restricted."
The state's investigation into this could take time. The procedure begins with inspectors reviewing written hospital records that chronicle all the activities of patients, doctors and nurses during a given time period. Then, they visit the hospital site. They might also check hospital logbooks and security footage to discover which staffers, nurses, in-house security and maintenance workers were on duty at the time.
That would be done so the employees could be interviewed and the state would be able to determine whether hospital rules were violated. If they were, the state has the power to either issue a warning not to repeat the action, or the hospital could be slapped with a fine of several thousand dollars.
On Wednesday, Leah Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for 1199 SEIU, the union that represents many workers at the hospital, said that union officials were not aware of any investigation.
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