An infant was left under the care of a hospital in Abu Dhabi after its mother fled the country, apparently fearing the birth out of wedlock would send her to prison.
According to The National, the child, named Sebastian, has been looked after by staff at Universal Hospital in Abu Dhabi for the past nine months since his Filipino mother, absconded.
Doctors said they are cooperating with the Philippine Embassy to plan out the child’s future, including adoption as an option.
“We couldn’t leave the baby so we took on the responsibility and have been caring him for the last nine months,” said Dr Shabeer Nellikode, the hospital’s founder and managing director.
The Filipino mother was in her final stages of labor when she was rushed to the hospital facility on Airport Road. After delivery, the child was taken to the intensive care unit following birth complications.
While the infant was monitored, the mother, who had no insurance coverage to show, explained to staff that she would have to leave the hospital to arrange payment for her delivery procedure and treatment, but never returned.
Hospital staff later learned that she was married but her husband was in the Philippines. She was impregnated by another man in Abu Dhabi.
“We approached the Philippines embassy in Abu Dhabi but they told us that the mother is not interested in the baby,” Dr Essam Ali, a senior quality manager, said.
After realizing the mother appears not keen on returning, the hospital has since pledged to cover all expenses incurred on child care, and allocated a room that has swing, a bed, sofa, toys and a full-time nurse to look after the child. Several hospital staff have offered to adopt the baby, but the process is complex, The National reported.
“The lady left behind the baby and escaped from the country. She was afraid that her husband would come to know about the baby and this would jeopardise their marriage,” said the manager.
During the time she was in the hospital, the mother was not able to produce her passport copy, or that of the father, or a marriage certificate, rendering the hospital unable to issue a birth certificate.
Dr Ali said he planned to travel to the Philippines in an attempt to find a way to adopt the child.
“There is a lengthy procedure for adoption in Philippines as well, but I will go there to work through the legal channels.
“If the mother refuses to take the baby, this allows others to adopt legally,” said Dr Ali, who hopes the child will join his family of three.
Eight months of negotiation with the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi yielded fruit, as officials agreed to issue a passport to Sebastian.
The Philippines embassy confirmed that negotiations are ongoing. A spokesman said: “We can’t give any details as to what we are doing about the baby, as the investigation is ongoing”.