Tuesday, 27 February 2007

A heart warming story

A Rome hospital that reintroduced a modern version of the medieval foundling wheel, following a spate of abandoned babies, has had its first "deposit".

The device allows women to leave their new-born children in hospital instead of abandoning them in telephone boxes or on doorsteps or, in an extreme case, killing them.

The original wheels were a cylindrical hatch set in the outside wall of a church. Mothers would place their baby in the hatch, close it and then ring a bell to warn the priest or nuns.

The system has been brought up to date with a heated soft bed complete with sensors and cameras to alert staff when a baby has been abandoned.

The wheel, installed at the Policlinico Casilino last year, was used for the first time late on Saturday night, when a three-month-old boy was left there.

The 14lb boy was named Stefano after the doctor who first treated him.

Yesterday Dr Piermichele Paolilo, the unit's director, said: "The only problem we have had is getting him to take milk from a bottle, so he was obviously breast feeding.
The Telegraph: