THERE are four children at the Paediatric Unit of the San Fernando General Hospital who have been abandoned.
The hospital's head of paediatrics, Dr Rajindra Parag, said one child, a teenager, has been there for about ten years because he suffers from a terminal illness and brain disorder.
Another child has been at a unit for the past year.
The other two were left weeks ago. Parag said that children would often be brought to the hospital for treatment, but never released, because no one ever came to claim them.
Parag disclosed the information in response to an Express report yesterday that a one-year-old girl had been abandoned on the roadside at Bayshore, Marabella, on Tuesday.
A teenager claiming to be the child's mother turned up at the Marabella Police Station late on Tuesday.
The 18-year-old said she had left her infant in the care of the father on Tuesday morning.
However, she said she contacted the father later that day, and he claimed not to know where the child was.
The infant has since been placed in the care of the paternal grandmother.
Police have detained the mother, and questioned the father.
The Express visited the area where the child was found on Tuesday and also attempted to speak with the grandmother. However no one was at home at the time and neighbours said neither of the child's parents lived in the area.
Police public information officer Sgt Wayne Mystar said yesterday that, according to the Children's Act, persons charged with child endangerment or child abandonment could pay a fine of $10,000 or a face two years imprisonment on conviction or on summary conviction $5,000 or a six-month imprisonment.
He said anyone over the age of 16 could be held accountable for the offence and the parents of the child were interviewed and an investigation launched. Mystar was speaking at the police weekly press briefing at the police administration building Port of Spain.
Meanwhile, Parag said the abandoned children would remain in the hospital's care until proper accommodation elsewhere is made for them.
Parag said, "Ideally they (abandoned children) should not be here. We try to get the social worker involved but the hospital is a safe place and we do not turn away any child. We keep them here until they can be placed in proper care."