Newborn found wrapped in plastic bag

July 8, 2008 4:02:58 PM PDT
A newborn baby boy is doing well after he was left in the courtyard of a residential building on Chicago's North Side. The child was discovered around 2 a.m. The search is on for his mother.

Several residents of the North Side apartment building in the 460-block of North Beacon said they heard the baby crying but ignored it, although one woman described the cries as piercing. Fortunately, one young man decided to look into it and found the baby.

Doctors say the 25-year-old saved the baby's life because the baby may not have made it if much more time was spent outside.

The 5-pound newborn baby boy was found wrapped in a plastic grocery bag in the bushes next to the front door of an Uptown apartment building. He is now resting at Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

Doctors say the baby's temperature was low.

"The baby is doing very, very well. The temperature, which was not more than 86 degrees Fahrenheit, has come up to normal with appropriate warming devices," said Dr. Richard Feldman, Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

Feldman says the baby suffered from hypothermia, a cut lip and swelling on the back of his head.

"The baby is approximately five pounds. I don't have a length on the baby. But it appears to be near term or at term. To bring a baby in under the circumstances that we have with this child, with the temperature again of maximally 86 degrees and possibly lower, markedly decreases the probability this is going to be a healthy child," Feldman said.

Fire and police officials say 25-year-old Brandon Shepard, who lives at the building, was returning home from a date when he heard a baby crying. He looked closer and found the infant in a bag with the umbilical cord still attached.

Shepard then ran about two blocks with the baby to a firehouse at 1212 West Wilson, where he banged on the door and woke the firefighters.

"The paramedics from Engine 83 and the Ambulance 31 started immediate treatment. The baby was relatively healthy upon arriving at the firehouse. There was some hypothermia," said Chief Marc Levison.

Levison reminded residents about the Safe Haven Act, which allows newborns up to 10 days old to be dropped off at various locations, no questions asked.

"Every firehouse in the state, every police station and every hospital is a safe haven for babies," Levison said.

"Parents, the mother or whatever, did not either know about it and/or take advantage of the Safe Haven law," said Feldman.

The Safe Haven Act also gives a parent time to reclaim the child after leaving the baby at the proper facility.

The baby found Monday night will be placed in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.


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