Chicago man rescues abandoned infant

September 8, 2008 1:47:19 PM PDT
A 5-lb. baby boy found abandoned outside an Uptown apartment building Tuesday was still listed in serious condition Friday at Advocate Illinois Masonic hospital.Doctors do not know when the child will be released to the custody of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Friday, 25-year-old Brandon Shephard was recognized like a hero for saving the young boy's life. He talked about finding the baby in a plastic bag in the bushes next to his apartment Tuesday morning just before 3 a.m. and how he ran and stopped to ask several people for help before ending up at the fire station down the street.

"I ran into one person, and they wouldn't help me. He actually said, 'Ew, gross.' So, he wasn't any help. The second person just ignored me," Shepard said.

Shepard says he has been unable to find work and that life has been bleak, but helping an abandoned child has given him hope.

"Things were getting bleak for me, and I didn't feel needed, and I think I found a purpose," he said.

The Saved Abandoned Babies Foundation presented Shephard with a hero's award Friday.

Hospital staff members have named the infant 'newborn Wilson' after the street on which he was found.

"It looks like they are in control of the situation. At this point, it looks like things are stable," said Dr. Vivek Ghai of Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

In 2001, the Safe Haven Act passed, which allows newborns up to seven days old to be dropped off at a fire station, police station or hospital no questions asked.

"People need to know that they can turn in an unharmed baby seven days old or younger to any hospital, police or fire station, and we promise they won't be prosecuted," said Save Abandoned Babies Foundation's Dawn Geras.

"I think we need to be there for one another because, in the end, we only have each other. We need to look after each other more," Shepard said.

The Safe Haven Act also gives parents up to 60 days to reclaim the child after leaving the baby at the proper facility.

Since the Safe Haven Law was passed in 2001, 44 infants have been legally relinquished. Another 50 were illegally abandoned, and 24 of those did not survive.

Baby Wilson is fortunate that Shephard found him just in time to get the proper medical help.


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