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Parents Abandon Baby for Having Rare Condition; Grandfather Steps In

The Short of It

A newborn abandoned by her parents because she was born with wrinkly skin is now recovering from severe dehydration in a Mumbai hospital thanks to her grandfather.

The Lowdown

The girl—who hasn't been named yet—was born in western India at seven months and weighed less than 2 pounds. Her parents, Mamata and Ajay Dode, were expecting her to look like her 3-year-old sister did at birth, but they were shocked that she was so tiny and that her skin appeared wrinkly.

"When the baby was given to us, we were left shocked," the baby's grandfather Dilip Dode told the Mirror. "She did not have the usual features, and the word soon spread in the village. From our relatives to villagers, everyone gathered at our home to have a look at the baby. And when they got to see her, they ran away in fear. None held the baby in [their] hands as they thought they will catch the disease. Even my son and daughter-in-law refused to accept her as they were embarrassed to have given birth to her."

Heartbreakingly, the parents refused to even feed the baby, so grandfather Dilip began caring for her and gave her spoonfuls of goat milk. Seeing that she wasn't doing well, he eventually took her to Wadia Hospital in Mumbai. The hospital is treating the baby free of charge and has also given Dilip a complimentary room to stay in. They say she likely has a chromosomal abnormality and was born small because of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). More evaluation needs to be done, but she'll likely be in the hospital for a long time.

The Upshot

Thank goodness for the grandfather and for the hospital staff! Without them, the baby would have died. I hope they can get the parents the education they need to understand the baby's health problems, and if they can't be suitable caregivers, that the grandfather can take over guardianship. He seems like a stand-up guy.

"My only hope is that she gets well and lives a normal life," Dilip said. "I will try to convince her parents to accept her, but if they still refuse, I will raise her up myself. It is not her fault to have born different, and I will not throw her [away] for this disease."

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