23-day-old boy with cleft lip allegedly abandoned by parents soon after birth
A newborn with a cleft lip, born at the Civil Hospital in Sector 10 on July 11, was found abandoned by his parents a few hours after his birth, according to officials at the hospital. The boy has been in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for 24 days now without any trace of his parents, as per the police.
An FIR was filed on Thursday at the Sector 10 police station under Section 318 of the India Penal code (concealment of birth by secret disposal of dead body.) The parents are currently untraceable, the police said.
According to doctors at the Civil Hospital, the mother of the newborn was admitted to the hospital on July 9 following labour pains, and had a normal delivery two days later. Since the baby was born with a cleft lip, he was shifted to the NICU and the mother was discharged later on the same day. However, the staff said, the mother and the father couldn’t be found after the discharge formalities and haven’t returned so far. The address that the parents entered in the records of the hospital is of a place in Bihar, staff said.
“A complaint with the police was filed a couple of days after no one came to claim the child. The newborn has been under observation and is receiving care at the hospital,” said Dr Pradeep Kumar, a paediatrician at the hospital.
The police said an investigation is currently underway to find the parents. “There was no local address given to us. It seems the parents were from Bihar based on the address entered in the hospital records. However, we haven’t been able to track them yet,” said Sanjay Kumar, station house officer(SHO), Sector 10 police station.
Staff at the hospital said they believe the parents abandoned the child thinking that he won’t be able to survive the congenital defect or that the costs of the surgery would have been too high for them to bear. They said girl children have often been abandoned before in the hospital after birth in the past. However, it was probably the first time a boy was deserted.
“A cleft lip can be surgically repaired and the parents, coming from a disadvantaged background, might have believed otherwise. Surgery can be done in around nine months after birth,” said Kumar.
Officials said while the newborn is in the hospital currently, he might be shifted to a childcare centre soon.