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Officials Seek Help in Baby Death Case

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Sheriff’s officials searching for the mother of a newborn boy found suffocated along a deserted street last weekend have asked hospitals to notify them of women with postpartum injuries seeking medical attention.

However, obstetricians on Monday said the woman could probably live normally without seeking medical attention, particularly if this was not her first child.

Orange County Sheriff’s Sgt. David Miller said detectives investigating the death were off for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and were unable to discuss the case.

The fully developed baby--who was only hours old--was found wrapped in a plastic trash bag Saturday night by a motorist along Aliso Creek Road, near Glenwood Drive.

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Sheriff’s detectives have asked local hospitals to notify them if any woman seeks treatment for injuries that could have occurred during childbirth, but two obstetricians noted that it is possible that the child’s mother will not require medical help. They pointed out that having a baby without a doctor’s care is common throughout the world.

“It happens all the time in the bush,” said Dr. David Lagrew, medical director at Saddleback Women’s Hospital. “So unless the woman has a severe tear in her vagina and there is massive bleeding, she’ll probably do OK.”

Dr. James Barlow, a retired Orange County obstetrician, said the woman could also have problems if she did not pass the baby’s placenta or if she develops an infection in any tears.

“But those problems are less likely if she previously had a baby,” he said. “So the woman could be back on her feet in a day or two.”

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The incident was at least the sixth time in the past year that an abandoned newborn has been found dead in the county. In three of the cases, the mother of the child was arrested shortly after the body was found.

In September, a teen-ager was arrested after a newborn girl was found dead in a UCI Medical Center restroom.

In August, a 19-year-old who had hidden her pregnancy from family and friends was arrested after a baby girl was found dead in a dumpster in Anaheim, officials said. She was released when the coroner could not prove that the baby had been born alive.

Last June, a 27-year-old Cypress mother of three was arrested after her husband found a baby stuffed into a plastic bag in their apartment closet. She, too, had denied being pregnant and had told her husband that her physical changes were the result of other medical problems, officials said.

In two other cases, a newborn girl was found dead at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Cypress in July, and a baby boy was found dead in a Laguna Hills dumpster in October. No arrests were made in either case.


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