KILLEEN (December)--Local doctors and EMS say not enough mothers are utilizing the "Baby Moses Law" and other resources offered to parents to keep them and unwanted newborn babies safe.
"It's so sad because there really are some much-better options for a mother who's having a baby who's desperate and alone," said Dr. Joseph Danna of Seton Medical Center.
Dr. Danna is talking about the several options for mothers like the one police are looking for after a newborn baby girl was found dead in a Wal-Mart bathroom FridayDi in Killeen.
While an autopsy has been ordered to find out how the baby died, police are still looking for the mother, who may be in need of immediate medical attention.
"She's set herself up for secondary infection that could resolve to overwhelming infection putting her life at risk," said Dr. Danna.
"There's bleeding, there's infection, there's long term consequences if she doesn't get appropriate post-delivery care."
Dr. Danna said yesterday's incident is one of the most devastating things he's ever heard in his 30+ years as an emergency room physician, and what's more devastating, he said, is it could have all been prevented.
There's a Texas law that provides a responsible alternative to mothers who might otherwise abandon, harm or murder a newborn child, known as the "Baby Moses Law" (Texas Family Code, Chapter 262, Sub Chapter D).
It states that a parent may leave an unharmed infant, up to 60 days old, at any hospital or fire station with no questions asked.
"If you have the baby, and you leave the baby, you're looking at child abandonment," Dr. Danna said.
"If you bring the baby to the hospital, you're looking at having a safe delivery, safe for you, safe for the baby, in the presence of people who will understand that and not make any judgment."
Lt. Tim Rabroker of Killeen Fire-EMS said the situation would have had a positive outcome had the mother brought the child to a fire station, one of the designated safe locations as part of the "Baby Moses Law."
"If she would have brought the child here, best case scenario she could have just told us the child is more than she could have handled," Lt. Rabroker said.
"We would have rendered aid to the child and make sure it had the care that it needed, transported the mother and the child to the hospital so they could get long-term care, and there would have been nothing held against the mother."