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Hospital Staff Excited Over Abandoned Newborn

December 26, 1985

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ A premature baby abandoned in frigid weather in a parking lot was in stable condition and ″getting real special treatment″ from nurses who hung a stocking beside her bassinet and named her Joy Noel.

The 2-pound, 3-ounce girl was found Christmas Day in a laundromat parking lot by a woman who called police, according to Lt. Richard Fulks, who said the woman has not been eliminated by investigators as the possible mother.

A nurse is working full-time to take care of the infant, who was suffering from hypothermia and pulmonary stress, said Arkansas Children’s Hospital spokeswoman Teresa Luneau. Stress is common in newborn babies.

Doctors estimate the girl was born two months early, and within an hour of when police found her, Ms. Luneau said, adding that nurses are pitching in enthusiastically to take care of the infant, who was in stable condition.

″They all seemed to be awfully excited,″ she said. ″They felt sorry for the baby, but for them it was almost like a Christmas present.

″They’re not supposed to give the children names, but they call her Joy Noel. There’s a little stocking hung up beside her bassinet. She seems to be getting real special treatment.″

The woman who reported the child hung up right away and police were not able to get more information from her, Fulks said. Officers found the girl when the temperature was at 13 degrees.

″It’s kind of tough, finding a baby on Christmas Day,″ he said.

Dr. Becky Williams, neonatologist in charge of the intensive care unit, said the hospital gets about two abandoned babies a year.

Ms. Luneau said the baby would probably stay at the hospital for two months before being turned over to the state Social Services Department which will place the child in a home.

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