Doctor worries about health of abandoned baby's mom
GALVESTON — The mother of a 10-day-old baby boy, found on the doorstep of a Dickinson home when he was hours old, may need medical attention and should immediately seek help at a clinic, a doctor said Friday.
Authorities haven't determined the identity of the mother, who is at risk of infection, postpartum depression or a condition that could cause the death of her next child if she became pregnant again, said Dr. Gary D.V. Hankins, head of the obstetrics and gynecology department at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.
Sheriff's deputies dubbed the boy Baby Nicholas because he was found during the holiday season.
During a news conference in Galveston, Hankins said authorities need to find relatives to provide a medical history for the blond, blue-eyed boy. This information will be important in assessing his health as he grows.
Sheriff's Lt. Tommy Hansen said the fleece blanket found under Baby Nicholas is unusual enough that it might be recognized. The 5-foot by 2½ foot blanket has a gray background and black border with a pattern that resembles a television remote control with black buttons. Hansen said investigators want to know where it was purchased.
The mother needs to be tested for RH Isoimmunization, a condition in which a blood property known as the RH factor is different in the mother from the child, Hankins said. Without treatment, the condition can lead to sterilization. If she becomes pregnant again, it could lead to the death of the child, he said.
"There are very real dangers and we are still concerned for her well-being," sheriff's Maj. Ray Tuttoilmondo said. "We want her to get care. Everything else is secondary."
Juan Renovato, 48, discovered Baby Nicholas on his doorstep at about 9:11 a.m. on a chilly Nov. 30. The infant was wrapped in a blanket inside a cloth bag.
His condition was listed as critical after he arrived at Clear Lake Regional Medical Center in Webster with a hole in his lung. Doctors believe his birth was difficult for the mother.
His temperature was so low that one of the nurses nicknamed him Frosty, Tuttoilmondo said. The hospital said in a written statement he now is in good condition, weighing 7 pounds, 9 ounces. "The outlook for his recovery is excellent," the hospital said.
Hankins said the hole in the lung was probably caused soon after birth as the baby struggled to take its first breath. "My guess is that nobody meant to harm this baby," he said.
The infant probably will be placed in a foster home by the end of next week if no family members come forward, said Gwen Carter, Child Protective Services spokeswoman. Baby Nicholas could be adopted within a year, she said.
Tuttoilmondo said investigators were concentrating on finding Baby Nicholas's family and were not discussing possible criminal charges. He said that whoever placed the child on the doorstep would not be protected by the Baby Moses law, which allows a healthy child to be left within 60 days of birth at a hospital, fire station or emergency medical service.
Hansen said it would be wrong to assume that the mother left the child on the doorstep. The father or a family member might have taken the child, he said.
Sheriff's deputies have collected clothing, toys and money for Baby Nicholas, Hansen said. The Galveston County Children's Service Board is setting up a fund for the child, Carter said.
Anyone with information should phone 877-904-SAVE.
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