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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


No need for this to ever happen

A 23-year-old woman delivered a baby in an Olympia hospital, put it in a plastic bag and placed it in the trash and then walked back into the emergency room, where she was being treated after coming to the hospital by ambulance for an unrelated complaint. .

The baby, rescued by health care workers, is expected to live, according to news reports.

These stories are always crazy-making because what woman can do this? Mental illness of some kind is sometimes involved but women in their OK minds have this alternative. They can use the so-called safe haven law.

This law, passed in Washington in 2002, allows a parent to leave a baby "in a safe place and increase the likelihood of survival. Immunity is provided from specific criminal liability for a parent who transfers a newborn to any hospital employee at a hospital emergency room or to fire station personnel at a staffed fire station. The hospital must give the parent the opportunity to provide family medical history anonymously. Child protective Services is contacted within 24 hours. The hospital, fire station, staff, and volunteers are immune from criminal or civil liability for accepting a newborn."

Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.