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Foundling wheel of the new millennium

UPI News Service, 02/27/2007 

The foundling wheel, which was used in Rome in the Middle Ages for mothers to safely give up unwanted children, has been revamped for use in the 21st century.

The original foundling wheel was a revolving wooden barrel lodged in a wall, usually at a convent, that allowed women to leave their child without being seen.

Now, the Casilino Polyclinic in Rome has reintroduced a more technologically advanced version of the foundling wheel and they received their first baby Saturday night, the International Herald Tribute reported Tuesday.

The 3-month-old boy was doing well Monday, said Piermichele Paolillo, who heads the neonatal unit at the hospital.

"We weren't expecting a child this old," Paolillo said. "On one hand, we're satisfied that the procedure worked perfectly. On the other, we can only guess about his life story."

The baby was deposited in a newly installed small structure fully equipped with a heated cradle and life-saving instruments, including a respirator.

Just like the original foundling wheel, it is possible for a mother to leave her child without being seen but the moment she leaves an alarm goes off in the hospital's emergency room.

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Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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