Abandoned Baby In Restroom Brings Safe Haven Law To Attention

by Diane Tuazon
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - Someone made a startling discovery on Friday at Odessa Regional Medical Center.

A new born baby was found inside one of the hospital's bathrooms.

No charges are being filed, because it's one of the Safe Havens where parents can give up a baby.

Texas has what's called a "Safe Haven Law" where a parent can drop their baby off anonymously with no questions asked.

"If a mother has an infant 60 days or younger, they can drop off with someone at the fire station, and we'll take custody of the baby without reprecussions to them," Captain Danny Wyatt with the Odessa Fire Department, said.

The Safe Haven Law doesn't apply to all public buildings; a child can only be dropped off at hospitals and fire stations where emergency medical services can be provided, and the parent has to physically give the baby to someone.

"That's important. We may not be in the building and gone for 2-3 hours, so no one will attain to the child until we return," Wyatt said.
Cpt. Wyatt says once a parent hands over a child, they'll only ask questions if the child seems to be in physical danger.

"We're just going to take the child make sure it's not abused and take it to the E.R. and make sure they're cared for." Wyatt said.

"A mother can basically drop off their child without any questions asked. We'll make sure the baby is cared for," Srgt. Mike Gerke, with the Odessa Police Department, said.

Cpt. Wyatt says even though it's unfortunate that an infant is being given up, coming to a safe haven is always better than leaving it out in harms way.

"If it's going to make a young mother comfortable and the best way to keep the child safe, then we'll do it," Cpt. Wyatt said.

Odessa Regional Medical Center was not able to comment on camera about what happened on Friday, but they did tell NewsWest 9, the new born baby girl that was found is in stable condition.