Like any other baby, little Lucy Hope loves being held and cuddled. But the people showering her with love and affection are not her family – they’re nurses and staff at Melomed Hospital in Bellville, Cape Town, who have been caring for her since she was found naked in a plastic bag on their doorstep…
Named Lucy Hope by her temporary carers, she has been spoilt rotten since she was picked up near the staff entrance last Wednesday.
Alicia Smith, the medical ward unit manager and sister in charge that night, said she got a call from the trauma unit, saying that a baby had been found outside.
The security guard had earlier seen a woman fiddling with a plastic bag, which she had left there. When he had heard crying, he had gone to investigate. He opened the bag and found the baby girl inside.
“The baby was naked but looked perfectly healthy. Only her fingers and toes were cold and blue,” Smith said.
Staff fed and clothed her
The police were informed and staff fed and clothed the infant, warming her up and measuring and weighing her before taking her to the paediatric ward.
She has the hospital staff wrapped around her little finger, paediatric ward unit manager Sister Mackie Jones said.
“She just wants to be in your arms,” she said.
Unable to come to a consensus on what to call their little unnamed patient, they put together the two most popular choices – Lucy and Hope.
“Almal is oor haar [everyone is fond of her]. Nobody can stay away from her,” Jones told News24 on Monday.
“She is a good baby. But I think we spoilt her by always picking her up. She is so beautiful.”
Social workers were to collect Lucy Hope on Monday.
The private hospital had kept her there for almost a week on their own expense.
But while she had arrived naked and cold, the staff made sure that that would not be how she left.
She has bags of clothes, nappies and gifts collected by the employees who Jones said were “heartsore” to see her leave.
She was grateful that the mother had had the foresight to leave the little girl on a hospital doorstep, Jones said, pointing out that no one knew the mother’s circumstances.
Hospital manager James van Vught said they were not the only ones who went out of their way for little Lucy Hope – pathology practice Pathcare waived the cost of testing her for Covid-19 and HIV.
Western Cape police spokesperson Mihlali Majikela said police were seeking assistance in finding the mother.
“According to reports, the baby, who is approximately two weeks old, was discovered inside a plastic bag and wrapped in a green towel,” Majikela said.
A case of child abandonment is under investigation.