Father takes ‘disabled’ baby home from hospital Filed on February 8, 2012

DUBAI — The parents of a baby born prematurely and with a disability have finally realised their ‘mistake’ of refusing to take him home from Latifa Hospital. The baby’s father reached the hospital on Monday and received him.

Khaleej Times on Sunday broke the news about the child’s plight in the hospital though he has been ready to be discharged since October and the Emirati parents’ repeated refusal to take care of him, and the huge public response as other newspapers also picked it up opened their eyes.

Colonel Dr Mohammed Abdullah Al Murr, Director of the Human Rights Department of the Dubai Police, said he received a call from the boy’s father who said he would go to the hospital and receive him. “The father expressed his regret for the mistake and violation of the child’s rights,” Col Al Murr said.

The department on Monday offered the father all assistance to take care of the baby and the services of a nanny, but he refused to accept the offer, saying the family can afford to give good care to the child. He also apologised for refusing to take his son home earlier, he added.

The Human Rights Department will meet the child’s father later and make him sign an undertaking that he would take good care of the child.

Officers of the Child and Women’s Protection Section of the department will be in touch with the parents, and the social workers will visit their house every two weeks or every month to check on his status and the care given. They would also provide necessary support to the family for giving him the best care and protection.

Col Al Murr said the father has expressed his “deep regret” for leaving the child at the hospital till now and thanked everyone who had offered to take care of his son.

The father said he was initially confused as to what was to be done and thought he would wait for the committee’s report on his allegation that the child developed the disability as a result of a medical error, but confirmed that he would look after him and give him the necessary follow-up treatment.

The reports evoked tremendous public response with several people lashing out at the parents and some even offering to give foster care for the hapless boy. Some said the presence of such children at home is a blessing from God, and the way for the parents to heaven. Many others said they themselves have children with disabilities and are taking good care of them.

The child was born premature by three months at the Dubai Hospital in August. The boy was transferred to the Latifa Hospital for treatment for respiratory problems and for an emergency surgery.

The hospital said the child received all necessary treatments. It contacted the parents more than once since October 9, 2011, but they refused to receive the baby at the time, saying that he is disabled and has a congenital ailment. They said they are unable to take care of the baby because they have another five-year-old child, who is suffering from a congenital disability.

The father earlier justified his refusal saying that he was surprised to find the baby suffering from nuerological problems, deformities and epilepsy, even though he was suffering only from breathing disorders and lung problems at the time of birth.

He said he would not take the baby home because there was a medical error behind the deterioration of his condition and that he had filed a complaint with the Department of Health and Medical Services in Dubai, and is waiting for a decision, especially since the initial analysis and testing before his birth did not prove that the baby had any disability.

Amira Agarib

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