Newborn found alive in SW Side garbage can

August 8, 2009 (CHICAGO) The baby was found Friday night in the 4400 block of South Rockwell.

'Who could do such a thing?' was the question being asked Saturday afternoon by the man, who by sheer luck of timing, found the baby at the bottom of a garbage can that was filling with rainwater.

The baby boy was left like trash inside a garbage can on the city's Southwest Side wrapped in a blanket and wearing sweatpants. Part of his umbilical cord was still attached.

"I just came from work, pulled in the garage and heard baby crying from one of the containers," Victorino Valle said.

Victorino Valle says the crying stopped a few seconds after the noise first grabbed his attention. When he figured out the sound had come from the garbage can, Valle says he was scared to open the lid for fear of what he would find.

"I couldn't believe this, these people. [It's] a shame," Valle said.

The bright spot in the story is that not only did the baby survive, but doctors say, miraculously, he appears no worse for the ordeal.

"Just to be on the safe side, he's on antibiotics. But otherwise, he's eating and performing like anybody his age would," said Dr. Eden Takhsh of St. Anthony hospital.

The medical staff at St. Anthony is naming the boy Anthony Thomas. The first name is in honor of the hospital, and the middle name is after the paramedic who treated the baby.

Doctors say the boy appears to be just two weeks shy of full-term. He weighs 6 pounds, 2 ounces and appears to be of Hispanic decent.

"I think we're going to find he'll add on weight, get off the antibiotics and probably be discharged like anybody his age, which is amazing, considering what he's been through," Takhsh said.

Baby Anthony is the 56th illegally abandoned child in Illinois who would have been covered under the state's Safe Haven law. That law allows parents to leave children seven days old and younger at police and fire stations or hospitals without fear of prosecution.

While Anthony survived an illegal abandonment, since 2001, 27 other babies have died in Illinois under similar circumstances.

"People need to know there is a safe, legal option. They won't get in trouble," said Dawn Geras of the Save Abandoned Babies Foundation.

Of the babies illegally abandoned since the Safe Haven law took effect in Illinois, 29, including baby Anthony, survived. Twenty-seven have not.

Despite the law, still more than half of babies abandoned are left illegally.

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