Doctor: Mom who threw baby out window was in 'emotional pain'

Reisterstown woman showed "deep concern" later about newborn's condition

July 28, 2010|By Nick Madigan, The Baltimore Sun

The young Reisterstown woman who police say tossed her newborn baby from a second-floor window a week ago was in "emotional pain" and showed "deep concern" about the baby's condition later at a hospital, a doctor who examined the child said Wednesday.

The baby girl, who weighed about 8.5 pounds at birth and appeared to be full-term, was determined to have been unhurt when, wrapped in a plastic bag, she was dropped about 10 feet and landed in a bush outside her mother's home. The child was discharged from the hospital Wednesday into the care of the Department of Social Services. A half-dozen callers have already contacted the hospital offering to adopt her.

"There was not a scratch, not a bruise, not a fracture," said Olachi Mezu-Ndubuisi, a pediatrician in the neonatal intensive-care unit of the Greater Baltimore Medical Center. She explained the results of a rigorous examination of the baby after she had been brought to the hospital by paramedics on the evening of July 22. "I was overwhelmed with relief that this innocent little girl was fine."

A decision on whether to file charges against the child's 21-year-old mother, Rebecca Diane Himes, will be made "shortly," Leo Ryan, a deputy state's attorney for Baltimore County, said Wednesday.

A police report of the incident says that two officers were dispatched to the Himes home on Virginia Avenue shortly after 9 p.m. and found a woman holding a child wrapped in blankets. It emerged that the woman, Laura Smith Himes, 51, was the baby's grandmother, although she told the officers that she had not known that her daughter was pregnant until the baby turned up.

Rebecca's younger sister, Samantha Nicole Himes, 18, said she had heard "screams or cries" behind the house. After going outside, "she observed a trash-style bag and heard the same loud screams or cries coming from the bag," the police report says. "She ran toward the front of the house, screaming."

The officers noted that the distance between the window from which the baby is thought to have been thrown and the hedge that broke her fall was between 10 and 12 feet. "The screen to the bathroom window was also pushed out of the window and was lying against the rear of the house," the report says. It adds that there was blood all over the bathroom, including in the shower.

Mezu-Ndubuisi, the pediatrician at GBMC, said Rebecca Himes had refused to speak with police officers but agreed to speak with her "because I could help the baby." The doctor said the young woman did not have pre-natal care, which "put not only the baby's life at risk but her own life at risk." During the unsupervised birth, which occurred in a non-sterile environment, any number of problems could have arisen, the doctor said, not least that Himes "could have bled to death."

Nevertheless, the doctor said, "I don't feel it's my place — or anyone's place — to judge her." However, Mezu-Ndubuisi emphasized the protections afforded by Maryland's Safe Haven Law, which allows mothers to leave babies at hospitals, fire stations or police stations within 10 days of their birth without being prosecuted, as long as the children are physically unharmed.

nick.madigan@baltsun.com

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