A 22-YEAR-OLD Ecuadorian woman has been sentenced to five years and seven months in prison for abandoning her baby in a waste bin at a hospital in
In November 2009, she went to the Rosell Hospital in Cartagena with her mother and cousin complaining of a pain in her right knee. However, she had hidden her pregnancy from her family and did not want to admit she was having contractions.
At one point, she told the relatives accompanying that she needed to use the toilet and went alone. She gave birth to a baby boy which she put into a waste bin, and after cleaning up the blood with toilet paper, threw this and the placenta into the bin as well.
She was later called to see the doctor and given an analgesic for the pain she claimed to have in her knee. Her cousin, suspecting something was not right, went to the toilet and found the baby. She called the doctors who revived the baby. He was taken to the emergency department and remained in hospital five days before being released with no after effects and was taken into the care of the state.
Although the defense claimed that the woman planned to go back to get the baby, the court considers there is no proof of this and that she had put him in danger. The court did not accept the “insurmountable fear” the woman claimed to feel as a defence because she could have requested help from medical staff without having to tell her family. She was under pressure and had denied she was pregnant.
The social educator dealing with her case had told her if she had another child, her first two children could be taken away from her, as she, the children, and her four brothers and sisters lived in the same house with only the income of her mother and grandmother to support them.
Her mother had also told her not to get pregnant again because if she did she would have to leave home, as the child’s father had also left her.
By Jennifer Leighfield