Saturday, May 20, 2006

Baby Found In Dumpster

Baby Found In Dumpster

Story and photos by Lynndi Lockenour

A newborn baby girl was discovered in a dumpster behind a restaurant, located in the 1100th block of Duchesne Drive Thursday morning around 10 a.m. St. Charles City Police Chief, Tim Swope said the department was contacted by a nurse from a local hospital where the baby’s mother was being treated post-nattily. He said the nurse expressed concern that there might be a miscarried fetus located in the dumpster. However, when officers and paramedics arrived to the scene, they found the baby still alive.

Paramedic Todd Ferring jumped into the dumpster to retrieve the newborn. Aside from the infant’s extremities being a bit blue, he said the child was responsive and seemed fine considering the circumstances. “When we got there I definitely didn’t expect to see a baby with ten fingers and toes,” he said.

Ferring estimates the baby was approximately 30 weeks gestation, meaning it was delivered between six and 10 weeks early. The infant, who is thought to have been born early Thursday morning, was found still attached to its umbilical cord and placenta. Paramedics cut the umbilical cord and transferred the baby to the ambulance where, after minor stimulation, she began to cry and moan. “Her heart rate was strong and she was breathing on her own,” Ferring said. The baby was then taken to Cardinal-Glennon Hospital, where she remains.

Ferring’s paramedic partner, Matt Schafer, has children of his own and said he couldn’t believe his eyes when Ferring handed him the baby. “I remember thinking ‘Oh my God, she’s alive,’” he said. “Immediately I began falling back on all my training to care for the child.”

Sometime after police and paramedics found the baby, members of the infant’s mother’s family arrived to the scene. Chief Swope said some of the relatives seem to already know about the ‘miscarriage’ and hinted that the birth might have taken place at a nearby residence. As of now, no arrests have been made.

Both paramedics say this was the youngest child they’d cared for. Schafer himself lost a child to unforeseen birth defects when it was only one day old. He currently has two other children at home, one four and the other two years of age. “This is what we do,” he said. “I just feel good that we were able to keep her alive.”

Paramedic Ferring was less optimistic about the rescue. “It makes me angry really,” he said. “I can’t believe a mother would leave her child like that.”

As of now the child’s mother is not in police custody, but remains at a local hospital where she is undergoing post-natal treatment. Chief Swope said officers are investigating the situation as a homicide, but no arrests have been made yet. “If prosecuted for homicide, there could be serious consequences for the mother,” he said. “The simple act alone of abandoning a baby in a dumpster is questionable.” The name of the baby’s mother was not released by press-time.

The child will now be turned over to Division Family Services as further investigations continue.