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It’s an unfortunate situation no party wants to experience: a birth mother with no options.

Now in Genesee County, there are some.

United Memorial Medical Center is being honored for its responsible handling of a young mother going through a crisis pregnancy.

Safe Haven, recently made a part of New York law, provides an alternative for those young women to leave the baby with a reasonable person at a suitable location. It allows her to relinquish the child safely with no questions asked and no repercussions.

Timothy Jaccard, the president and director of the AMT Children of Hope Foundation, explains the program’s impact.

“In 1998 before I wrote the original law,” Jaccard said, “we were averaging about 20-25 (babies) a year that were being abandoned and found in dumpsters and garbage cans. Since the initiation in 2001 and the passage of the law, we brought that down to last year we only had three deaths of newborn infants in the entire state. We rescued 29 babies last year.”

Jaccard was at UMMC today to commend the hospital. UMMC confidently handled a young woman who sought help from Safe Haven the first day it was initiated at the hospital.

“The idea was that the hospital was prepared through the cooperation of this hospital and the policy that they had in place, we were able to receive this baby without any difficulty or any problems," Jaccard said.

“We did the right thing," Maryann Cogdill, the nurse manager of obstetrics and the practice manager of women’s care at UMMC, said. "We initiated protocol that’s New YorkState. We were able to help a mom who was in distress and we were able to help a baby go to a loving home and we are very lucky and fortunate to be an instrument for that.”

Cogdill says the babies that are dropped off are placed with suitable families through the Department of Social Services. She says there are several rewarding aspects.

“To know that that baby’s going to have a wonderful life" Cogdill said, "and that some parents are very happy and lucky, and a young lady has been able to go on with her life without blame or guilt or doubt and knowing that she made the right decision.”

UMMC has handled two young women using the Safe Haven program since its official implementation several months ago. 

For more information on Safe Haven, click: http://safehaven.tv/states/newyork/

For more information on the Children of Hope Foundation, click: http://www.amtchildrenofhope.com/index.php

Pictured above: Mary Beth Bowen, VP of nursing, Mark Schoell, CEO of UMMC, Denise Polovick, RN, Jaccard, Cogdill and Dan Ireland, VP of clinical support services.

 

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KenBarrett
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