By Andrew Ehrkamp
EDMONTON—A safe-haven program called Angel Cradle, operated by Covenant Health, may have saved a newborn baby’s life.
A healthy baby was dropped off at the Grey Nuns Hospital in Edmonton within the last six months under the Angel Cradle program that lets parents anonymously leave a baby in a cradle within a doorway.
It’s the first time a baby has been abandoned under the Angel Cradle program since it began in Edmonton in May 2013 and it’s proof that the program works, according to a spokesperson for Covenant Health. Covenant Health operates the Angel Cradle at Grey Nuns and Misericordia Hospitals in Edmonton.
“In light of Catholic social teaching, our mission to the meet the needs of the most vulnerable and in this case there was a positive outcome,” said Dr. Gordon Self, vice-president of mission, ethics, and spirituality.
“We can’t lose sight of the desperate circumstances that would lead to this decision, and we have to remember that this person chose to leave their baby in a safe environment. The Angel Cradle program helps prevent situations from being very tragic, which happens as we know.”
On Christmas Eve, a baby girl was found dead by a security guard in a Calgary parking lot. Calgary Police Service are investigating the incident.
A blue door marks the drop-off point by the emergency departments. Inside is a cradle for the baby. Within 30 seconds, a sensor alerts emergency department staff. The baby is then checked by doctors and nurses and placed in the care of the Ministry of Children’s Services. The cradle and alarm are checked daily to ensure the alarm is functioning.
“Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of children,” said Zoe Cooper, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Children’s Services.
Cooper said ministry staff work with Alberta Health Services to provide temporary care for the baby, and to locate the parents. If they can’t be located, the child will come into government care, where the goal is to find the child a permanent home.
As long as the baby is unharmed, police will not be involved.