So far there have been three abandoned babies in the unit. Two were in the unit when I arrived and one was admitted a few days ago. One, Theodore, the Success Story of an earlier blog, was discharged home. Two remain in the unit.
Jean Francois has been here the longest. He is about 20 months old and he has been in the hospital for over a month. He has hydrocephalus (hydro = water, cephalus = head). In this condition, the fluid in the brain does not circulate properly and the fluid builds up in the brain. This puts pressure on the brain tissue, which does not develop in a normal fashion. Jean Francois’ head is the size of a basketball. He has pressure sores on his scalp because before arrival he was left to lie on one or the other side and he was never moved. The pressure sores are healing very slowly. In Canada the hydrocephalus would have been treated at birth with a shunt to take the pressure off the brain. In January a team of US neurosurgeons will spend a week at the hospital and they will shunt a lot of children, including, hopefully, Jean Francois. There is an orphanage that might accept his care with the shunt.
Baby Boy Iconnu, which means “unknown” in French, was dropped off a few days ago by a man. The baby is healthy, full term and his exam is normal. He was brought to the hospital within an hour of delivery. The man who brought the baby changed his story several times. First, he was given the child by some street children. Then, he reported that the mother could not care for the baby. Finally, he implied that perhaps the mother might want the baby back if things go ok. My take is that the man is the father, he didn’t want the baby, and he is very conflicted about his complicated emotional decision. All the nurses take turns carrying this baby around.
There are apparently hundreds of orphanages to take care of the children who survived but who lost parents in the earthquake. The orphanages are run by a variety of NGOs and there is a procedure for Haitian families to adopt the children.