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Baby Lost for 90 Minutes; Found Unharmed Under Dirty Laundry

April 18, 1985

CADILLAC, Mich. (AP) _ A 3-week-old girl apparently was gathered up with a hospital’s dirty laundry and lay on the basement floor under a foot of soiled sheets for 90 minutes before being found safe, the child’s father says.

″I don’t see how it could have happened,″ said Fred Harris, father of Hilary Harris and a Wexford County sheriff’s deputy.

He said Mercy Hospital officials delayed calling law enforcement officers Wednesday because authorities were concerned about publicity.

Hilary, who had been treated for pneumonia at the hospital, was in good condition, other than being cold, Harris said.

He said his wife, Deborah, may sue the hospital.

Vince Morrissey, the hospital’s vice president for public relations, was out of his office and not available for comment Thursday, said a woman answering the telephoe who refused to give her name. On Wednesday, nursing supervisor Nancy Johnson had no comment.

Harris, 26, said a hospital housekeeping employee gathered up his 8-pound daughter with the laundry Wednesday morning and took her to the basement laundry room.

The infant was discovered under the bed linen from the third-floor pediatric unit by a laundry-room worker, Harris said. The laundry room had been checked during a search before the girl was found.

″They went through the laundry once, so we kind of assumed someone had taken her,″ said Harris. He said pediatric unit linen normally is badly soiled and is not checked before washing.

Harris said that during the room-by-room search by local, county and state officials and hospital employees, some nurses were in tears and nearly everyone was in a state of alarm. Cars in the parking lot also were checked, he said.

″The way it looks, nothing criminal was done,″ said Cadillac Police Chief Lyle Reddy. ″From what little that I’ve been told, it was an accident, a serious accident.″

Harris said that hospital officials have apologized to him and his wife and want the couple to attend what he called a ″learning experience″ next week with hospital representatives.

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