Homeless woman's child dies in street birth
Published 04/11/2011 | 05:00
A WOMAN who lost her child while giving birth on the streets of an affluent district of Paris has caused soul-searching over France's treatment of its homeless.
Anna (38), a former lab technician and recovering drug addict, was eight months' pregnant when her contractions started in the tent she shared with her husband, Miloud, pitched on Rue de l'Observatoire in Paris's 14th arrondissement. Their makeshift home was a stone's throw from the Port Royal Saint Vincent de Paul maternity clinic and Cochin hospital.
Miloud said: "I received the baby's head, and as soon as its head and shoulders were through, it came out. But it was not moving. I gave it mouth-to-mouth for 10 minutes, then phoned the emergency services, but it was too late."
Born on Tuesday, the baby girl was to be called Dolores-Christina. It is believed she died stillborn, but Paris's child protection police unit has opened an inquiry to determine the exact cause of death.
Anna was admitted to hospital and her husband was given a hotel room the next day. He said he was angry that they had been denied emergency accommodation.
According to Paris police, the couple have a four-year-old child who was placed in a foster home as the mother was a drug addict and alcoholic at the time of birth. Anna's husband said she had been "reticent" to go to the hospital for fear her new child would be taken away.
The baby's death has shocked France and angered homeless charities.
On his election as president in 2007, Nicolas Sarkozy pledged that within two years, "nobody will be obliged to sleep on the streets and die of cold".
He enacted a law making access to housing a legal right. However, France still has 130,000 homeless and this year 280 people have died on the streets. (© Daily Telegraph, London)