St. Paul’s Foundation today announced the largest donation in Canadian history by a private citizen to a single medical facility. This unprecedented philanthropic donation will support the transformation of health care for British Columbians with the creation of the new St. Paul’s at the Jim Pattison Medical Centre, a world-class medical and research centre in the heart of Vancouver.
The Angel’s Cradle at St. Paul’s Hospital provides a safe place for a mother to leave her newborn baby if she feels that she cannot properly care for it.
Angel’s Cradle at St. Paul’s Hospital
Sometimes a newborn is unsafely abandoned because the mother feels that she has no other option. The Angel’s Cradle offers an alternative.
The Angel’s Cradle is located inside St. Paul’s Hospital in downtown Vancouver. It is accessible from outside the hospital at the Emergency Department entrance. An angel sign visible from the street indicates the cradle’s location.
At Providence Health Care, we are committed to the health and safety of the newborn and mother, and encourage mothers to make the right choice for themselves and their babies, whether it is parenting, adoption or leaving the baby in Angel’s Cradle.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why was Angel’s Cradle made?
While there are adoption options for a woman in the Lower Mainland who is unable to care for her newborn baby, women in crisis are sometimes hesitant to access these resources because they want to remain anonymous. Angel’s Cradle is a way for a woman to give up her newborn safely and remain anonymous.
Providence has a long history of caring for those with the greatest needs in our society. The development of this option for mothers in crisis is aligned with our Mission, Vision and Values.
- Where could the mother go for help instead of leaving her newborn in the cradle?
If a mother feels she is unable to care for her newborn baby, she could speak to her family doctor, a representative from the Ministry of Children and Family Development or a hospital social worker to discuss her options. There are also crisis centres throughout Greater Vancouver where she can call or drop in to talk to a counsellor. The Angel’s Cradle is the last option for a mother who does not feel she can access these other options.
- Will security or staff stop a mother from leaving her newborn?
No. Angel’s Cradle is a safe haven for a mother to give up her newborn. Staff or security will not approach the mother and will allow her to remain anonymous. This is also true if she seeks care for herself at the St. Paul’s Emergency Department.
- What will happen to the baby when it is left in Angel’s Cradle?
Thirty seconds after the newborn has been placed in the cradle, a sensor will alert Emergency staff. The baby will be given any necessary medical treatment and admitted to the appropriate unit. A hospital social worker will contact the Ministry of Children and Family Development, which will then assume responsibility for the baby. The baby will then be in government care.
- Will the police arrest the mother?
No. The police have agreed to treat Angel’s Cradle as a safe haven. This means that it is a safe and anonymous place for a mother to give up her newborn if she chooses to do so.
- What if the mother wants her baby back?
If a mother wants her newborn back after leaving it in Angel’s Cradle she can contact the Ministry of Children and Family Development. She would then meet with a social worker to discuss her options. The Province will work to ensure the newborn’s safety and to support the family.
- Can the mother do anything else to help her baby when leaving it in Angel’s Cradle?
Any medical information is helpful for doctors and nurses looking after the newborn. If a mother leaves information about her baby’s medical background, or the parents, it can help hospital staff provide better care. It also helps those caring for the newborn to know if the newborn may have been exposed to HIV, drugs or alcohol, and other health concerns. This information will not be used to find the mother.
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Dr. Michael O'Shaughnessy