From: BabySafeHaven on 26 Feb 2007 13:20
Italy reinvents wheel to save abandoned babies
Mon Feb 26, 2007
By Philip Pullella
ROME (Reuters) - Italy is re-inventing the wheel to save babies from
being dumped in garbage bins.
Family Affairs Minister Rosy Bindi says she wants every hospital in
Italy to have a modern-day version of the medieval "foundling wheel"
where unwanted newborns were left at convents.
Over the weekend, a baby was abandoned in a high-tech hatch installed
recently in a hospital in a poorer neighborhood on Rome's southern
The person who left the child entered a room accessible only from the
outside, pushed open a glass hatch, and deposited the baby in a heated
crib in a room on the inside.
Electronic sensors detected movement in the crib and set off an alarm
for doctors at the Casilino hospital, who arrived in 40 seconds and
cared for the baby boy, whom they named Stefano.
Medieval foundling wheels were wooden cylinders set in the wall of a
convent or church. The baby was placed in the cylinder from the
outside and the cylinder was turned toward the inside, where nuns
would care for the baby and seek new parents.
Hardly a month goes by without a news report about a newborn found
abandoned at the side of the road or, more commonly, in a garbage bin
on a city street. The lucky ones are found alive.
"I hope the mother of the baby boy left in the Casilino hospital will
find the hope and courage to reconsider. If she needs help, we will
help her find it," said Bindi.
"In any case, this difficult and painful decision took place in a safe
environment and that in itself is something good ... a good
alternative to abandoning a baby on the street."
Bindi said she would talk to Health Minister Livia Turco about making
a baby hatch available "in every maternity ward".
The Casilino Hospital, located in an area where many immigrants live,
had pasted posters with the appeal "Don't abandon your baby - leave it
with us" in six languages, including Chinese and Romanian.
The poster shows two loving hands holding a newborn. A hospital in the
northern city of Bergamo has begun a similar initiative to that in
While some of the abandoned babies were children of immigrants, having
a child out of wedlock still carries a stigma in Catholic Italy and
some babies, particularly in the south, are believed to have had
The first foundling wheel was believed to have been installed in Rome
in 1198 at the orders of Pope Innocent III who was alarmed at the
number of newborns, usually illegitimate, found caught in the nets of
fishermen on the River Tiber. Dictator Benito Mussolini officially
abolished them in 1923.
From: enrico.riboni on 27 Feb 2007 07:59
On Feb 26, 7:20 pm, "BabySafeHaven" <BabySafeHa...(a)aol.com> wrote:
> The first foundling wheel was believed to have been installed in Rome
> in 1198 at the orders of Pope Innocent III who was alarmed at the
> number of newborns, usually illegitimate, found caught in the nets of
> fishermen on the River Tiber. Dictator Benito Mussolini officially
> abolished them in 1923.
In 1923 Mussolini was prime minister of a colation government, not yet