It has been a little over three days since he was rescued out of a cloth bag, barely holding on to life. But the infant has survived and is under observation at the Chengalpet Medical College Hospital where doctors declared him ‘healthy and stable’.
On Tuesday evening, the MTC bus on route S515 plying from Tambaram to Mahabalipuram was packed to the brim as it set off from the depot. Even as the vehicle roared into life, nobody cast a second look at the innocuous bag that was dropped off on the conductor’s seat hastily. But as it took a turn to its first stop in Irumbuliyur, the infant, with blood stains fresh on his body, broke into a shrill wail drawing the attention of passengers. Conductor Satish Kumar and driver Tirupati, who sped over to the Peerkankaranai police station, recount how the baby was found buried under a mound of clothes. “I have only heard of such things, but never did I ever expect to see a baby stranded on the bus like that,” Satish Kumar said. The plight of the baby pushed everyone into a frenzy of action. “We had to get the umbilical chord cut and also prevent infection. The child was thankfully alive, but he looked weak. I didn’t want to take any chances and delay medical attention,” said Vijayan, inspector at the S14 station where the child was taken. From there, the bleeding child was rushed to a Primary Health Centre, fed milk and given first aid.
After making an entry in the community service register, the inspector alerted Childline (Kancheepuram) and 108 ambulance service. The MTC crew recalls waiting in the police station, hoping the baby survives. And at approximately, 8.30 pm their prayers were answered in the form of a hospital ambulance that pulled over.
“We get at least two cases of abandoned babies every month,” said Gavaskar, district co-ordinator of Childline, which has taken responsibility for the baby. “Once discharged, the child will be taken care of under the Cradle Baby scheme and on the recommendation of Department of Social Welfare, we will put him in a home for adoption,” he added.
For now, the boy slumbers peacefully in the neonatal ward of the Chengalpet hospital under the care of experts. Doctors hope he can be discharged in a week and handed over to Childline. Though the occurrences of abandoned children have not faltered, the collective efforts of a few individuals have ensured that the child isn’t just tossed away to add to a dismal statistic.