Pediatrics: Fuzzy Footprints

Many hospitals take a footprint of each new baby in the hope of avoiding mix-ups in identity. But Lieut. Colonel Kenneth S. Shepard saw no reason not to question the practice just because it is S.O.P. At Travis Air Force Base in California he had prints carefully made of the feet of 51 newborn babies, then got the babies in for repeat prints five to six weeks later. He sent the two sets of prints, coded only by number, to experts in criminal fingerprinting.

The result: only ten pairs could be matched, and most of those were too fuzzy to...

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