Saturday, April 9, 2011

In India, parents abandon baby with Down syndrome at Mumbai hospital

From Mid Day:

Newborn diagnosed with Down's Syndrome and congenital heart defect abandoned at JJ Hospital; parents' telephone and address invalid.

Medical staff at the paediatric wing at JJ Hospital are running from pillar to post.

The reason: a one-and-a-half month-old baby girl was abandoned by her parents after they were informed that their daughter suffered from Down's syndrome and from a congenital heart defect.

The yet-to-be christened baby was admitted to the paediatrics wing of the hospital on February 22 by her parents Rachna and Ravindra Parab.

The infant was diagnosed with Down's syndrome' a medical condition wherein the child does not develop physically and mentally.

According to doctors, the Parabs had brought the infant after they were referred from a private nursing home, as the newborn had developed complications and needed to be on a ventilator.

Doctors say that parents were shocked to hear that their child was not healthy and it was also later detected that she was suffering from endocardial cushion defect (ECD), an abnormal congenital heart defect in which the walls separating all four chambers of the heart are absent.

Doctors said that the news of her child being sick had severely affected Rachna and that she was under psychiatric treatment.

They revealed that Rachna was on medication owing to which she was not allowed to breastfeed the child.

Dr Ashok Rathod, head of paediatrics, JJ Hospital said, "The father of the child had requested us that the mother would not be able to come to the hospital regularly as she was undergoing psychiatric treatment and we were okay with it, as our doctors were working round the clock for the baby.

We did not allow the mother to breast feed the child as she was on medication."

However, around March 21 when Ravindra also stopped showing up at the hospital, staffers checked the records and even tried to call on the numbers registered in the case papers.

Unfortunately, they failed to reach anyone on the numbers. They then approached police officials at JJ Marg police station, who have are now verifying the address.

Another mother in the paediatric ward at JJ Hospital said, "The couple always fought outside the ward and the hospital staff would come and ask them to keep quiet. I haven't seen the couple for quite a few days."