A woman gave birth to a baby boy and then left the newborn partially submerged in a toilet at her Lancaster County workplace, according to the district attorney’s office.
Emmanuella Osei, 23, of Reading, is charged with felony endangering the welfare of a child regarding the Monday night incident at an apartment in Warwick Township.
Police say Osei works for Greater Hearts Human Services as a care assistant, and was working at a unit in the Newport Commons apartment complex when the incident happened (the Newport community is not an assisted living facility but does have at least one unit operated by Greater Hearts).
The district attorney’s office said Osei called her supervisor multiple times to say she felt ill. She asked for someone to relieve her because she could not leave the patients alone. She eventually called her supervisor from a toilet around 10:20pm and asked the supervisor to call 911.
A responding officer found her in the bathroom with the door partially open. A large amount of blood and what appeared to be an umbilical cord were on the floor. The officer then pulled Osei from the toilet and found the child, partially submerged in the water.
Investigators believe the child had been in the water for about 10 to 15 minutes. He was cold to the touch, blue, unresponsive and not breathing, so the officer and medics performed CPR and likely saved his life, officials said.
The baby was taken to UPMC Pinnacle where he remains on a ventilator, in critical but stable condition. The extent of his injuries are not known.
Authorities said Osei made no attempts to help the newborn or remove him from the water, and she did not ask first responders how he was doing or request to see him.
Police arrested Osei Wednesday at a health facility where she had been since giving birth. She is being held in Lancaster County Prison without bail.
The district attorney’s office said Osei came from Ghana to live with her uncle last May. Officials said she knew she was pregnant but repeatedly denied it when asked by friends, co-workers and her uncle.
She has a second child, a 2-year-old daughter, living in Ghana, officials said.
Soon-to-be mothers who are worried about having a child, and are considering taking desperate measures to conceal their pregnancy, are reminded of the Safe Haven Law: it allows for a mother to drop their newborn off at a hospital or police department without repercussions. The baby must be in good health and free of any neglect, and less than 28 days old.