Another baby found dead in hospital linen

Chris Kirkham

Laundry room workers at St. Francis Hospital in south Evanston discovered what may be the remains of a human fetus Wednesday morning as they were sorting through a load of hospital linen, Evanston police reported.

The remains of an infant boy were found in October, entwined in linens that had been laundered at St. Francis.

Evanston Police said the linens did not come from St. Francis. They are working with Resurrection Health Care officials to determine from which hospital the linens may have come. St. Francis, 355 Ridge Ave., provides laundry service for several Resurrection hospitals throughout the Chicago area, according to EPD.

After workers discovered the remains at about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, the hospital shut down the laundry facility and police began investigating, according to EPD. The forensics team for the North Regional Major Crimes Task Force also was called to the scene.

Results from an autopsy should be available today, a spokesman from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office said.

Other Resurrection hospitals include Holy Family Medical Center in Des Plaines, Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park, and Chicago hospitals Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center, Resurrection Medical Center, St. Elizabeth Hospital, St. Joseph Hospital and St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital Center.

Officials were not able to determine the cause of death of the infant found last October or whether the infant had been born full-term or prematurely.

A police investigation produced no results about who may have abandoned the infant or how it may have ended up in the laundry.

At the time, all Resurrection hospitals had confirmed there were no infants missing from their maternity wards and that all stillborns had been accounted for.

Deputy Chief Joe Bellino of EPD said in October that the Illinois Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act would have saved the child.

Signed into law in 2001, the act allows parents to anonymously give up custody of newborns to hospitals, fire stations, police stations and other emergency medical facilities if there are no signs of abuse.

After a safely abandoned baby is checked for medical problems, the Department of Children and Family Services can put the baby up for adoption.

The law often can accelerate how fast a child can be adopted, Meryl Paniak, an attorney for DCFS, told The Daily in November.

Babies who are abandoned unsafely would have to go through foster care while the authorities deal with prosecuting the parents.

Activists have estimated half of the mothers who have used the law are under 24 years old. As of October nine mothers had used the law since it passed.

Reach Chris Kirkham at [email protected].