Sion Hospital setting up safe haven for unwanted babies

Jan 18, 2013, 06:37 IST | Naveen Nair

After a three-day-old baby was found in a local train, hospital dean approached civic body with a proposal of offering a spot where mothers can leave infants anonymously

The sight of a helpless infant packed into a plastic bag and abandoned in a train is more than enough to bring anyone to tears. MiD DAY reported yesterday (‘3-day-old boy abandoned in local train’) about how commuters found the defenceless infant in a ladies compartment of a Thane-bound local on Wednesday.

Three-day-old boy who was abandoned in a train

This incident has stirred many a beating heart and if all goes as planned by the dean of Sion Hospital, troubled mothers wanting to abandon unwanted babies can do so safely and anonymously, knowing that their child is in good hands. After the city has been witnessing a recent spate of abandoned infant incidents, regardless of the gender, Dr Suleman Merchant, dean of Sion Hospital has put forward a proposal to ensure the welfare of these abandoned babies.

He believes that these abandoned babies could die or be grievously injured after being dumped on the roads and at railway stations or on local trains. His plan is to safeguard the infants at the hospital and let the law take its own course thereafter. Merchant approached Additional Municipal Commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar yesterday with his proposal. “A cradle will be placed in a room at the hospital so that mothers or couples can leave their babies anonymously,” Merchant said. The plan includes installing a sensor unit near a designated cradle where mothers can leave their babies, and the unit will be rigged to alert hospital staff after a one-minute delay.

The delay will ensure that there is little or no interaction with anyone using the option and the hospital staff. If all goes well, the facility will open in a week’s time. Once a baby is left at the hospital, doctors will administer treatment if necessary and staff will take care of the infant. The police will also be informed and the case can be dealt with accordingly. “It is extremely unfortunate that newborn babies are being abandoned in such unsafe places in the city. These abandoned babies can be adopted by couples eager to take care of them,” Merchant said. 

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