x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Rubbish-chute baby has fractured skull

Hospital chief says baby boy is in critical but stable condition in intensive-care ward as mother and her employers face charges.

SHARJAH // A newborn baby boy who was thrown down a ninth-floor rubbish chute is in a critical condition in hospital with a fractured skull.

Doctors say it is too early to tell if the baby will make a full recovery.

He was less than an hour old when his mother, a Filipina housemaid, wrapped him in newspaper and a plastic bag then threw him down the chute, police say.

The baby is being kept under observation in the neonatal intensive care unit of Al Qassimi Hospital.

"He has a … fracture on the skull and it is likely it will have some reaction to his brain," said Dr Arif Al Nooryani, the hospital's chief executive.

"We are giving him some time under supervision in the intensive-care unit. At present we cannot say when he will be out of hospital."

A specialist team examined the baby on Tuesday night and found there was no need for any surgery at that stage.

Their main concern was how the child's brain would react to the trauma and if it could recover. Despite being critical, his condition is stable and he has no trouble breathing.

Dr Al Nooryani said he was amazed that the child was able to survive the fall.

"The chute had some curves so the baby came down slowly through the curves," he said.

"He fell down on some soft rubbish that offered some comfort from the fall, almost like a mattress.

"It would have been a different story if the chute did not have these turns and the boy fell directly down, but still in all we have to thank Almighty God. His story, whatever we say, is unique and special."

Dr Al Nooryani said the newspaper in which he was wrapped gave him some protection as he went down the chute.

He said the baby was fortunate the plastic bag had not been closed, allowing him to breathe as he lay on the rubbish.

The child was found at 6am on Monday by the apartment building's watchman, who alerted police.

The mother was arrested a few hours later and has been referred to public prosecutors.

Police also say she was working illegally, and the family who employed her face charges.

The baby will be cared for by Sharjah Social Services when he recovers.

ykakande@thenational.ae