Armless baby found at Jubilee Hospital
Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
The region's largest maternity facility was the scene of a horrendous discovery early yesterday when the body of a baby with its arms missing was found at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital (VJH) in Kingston.
Chairman of the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), Lyttleton Shirley, yesterday challenged claims made by workers at the hospital that a woman threw the newborn infant from a floor of the multi-storey institution.
"We are traumatised and shocked by this gruesome act. Let me assure the public that babies under the care of VJH are highly protected and cared for," Shirley said in a statement from the hospital late yesterday afternoon, hours after The Gleaner first broke the story online.
The newspaper had been attempting to contact the SERHA chairman throughout the day to no avail.
"We also want to make it profoundly clear that the baby was not thrown from any hospital building as a full audit of the entire hospital and its patients revealed that the maternal patients have accounted for all their babies."
He added: "An audit was also conducted in the morgue and all the bodies are accounted for."
Early yesterday, before many workers had arrived, The Gleaner gained access to the facility where several women, mostly mothers carrying out early-morning chores, were clearly shaken by what they had seen.
In the VJH statement, Shirley said the baby, believed to be no more than three days old, was found on the ground of the facility approximately 5 a.m.
He said a thorough check at the hospital revealed that the baby was not "presently" a patient and that no babies were missing.
District Constable Yanique Matthews, of the Constabulary Communication Network (CCN), told The Gleaner that both of the infant's hands were missing and the face gnarled.
A female worker at the hospital, working frantically with a mop as she cleaned the floor to the entrance of the labour ward, wondered aloud how another woman could commit such an act.
The horrific sight of the infant lying lifeless elicited the gamut of emotions from the janitorial workers making their early-morning rounds.
Chewed by animals
Several workers contracted to provide janitorial services at both the VJH and the neighbouring Kingston Public Hospital related how the baby's limbs were chewed by animals, prowling in the dead of the morning.
When The Gleaner arrived at the facility, workers from Madden's Funeral Home were in the process of removing the tiny body, metres away from one of the main entrances to the VJH.
In the labour-and-delivery suite of the institution, some patients were clearly furious while others questioned whether the woman was suffering from post-partum psychosis.
In the VJH release, Shirley also noted that an examination of the body by medical personnel revealed that there was no blood or body fluids present at the site where the mutilated body was found, suggesting that the body could have been transported to the compound.
He stated that the hospital staff has begun an audit of all mothers discharged from the hospital within the last 48 hours to assist the police with their investigations into the matter.