Parents Allegedly Abandon Baby with Rare Genetic Skin Disorder


Do you want to know what happens when human life inside the womb is seen as a clump of cells? It’s not treated that much better outside of the womb, either.

In Italy, a baby born with a rare skin condition was abandoned at a hospital in Turin, Italy, according to the BBC.

Giovannino, a 4-month-old baby boy, has what’s known as harlequin ichthyosis. It’s a condition that causes thick, cracked, dry skin.

It’s a genetic condition. There is no cure. And in this case, there are no parents — at least anymore.

“I don’t know what the reason is, the only thing certain is that this child has been abandoned,” a nurse at the hospital said.

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The baby, who’s being kept in Sant’Anna hospital, needs to be kept away from sunlight and have moisturizer applied to his skin throughout the day, or else it becomes dry and cracked.

“We all dream that he will soon have a little room of his own,” the nurse said.

Until then, the staff has been taking turns pushing the 4-month-old around the hospital corridors.

“He is a cute child who smiles and loves being taken around the ward,” Daniele Farina, the head of the neonatal unit, said. “He is happy when someone makes him listen to music.”

What is harlequin ichthyosis?

“The condition, which is said to affect just one person in every million, is the result of a faulty gene,” the BBC reported.

“It affects the rate at which the skin regenerates, meaning that old dry skin cells either take longer to shed, or new cells are reproduced too quickly, causing a build-up of thick skin.

“Large scaly plates then form, separated by deep cracks, which is where it gets the name.”

And, at least from all appearances, Giovannino’s parents didn’t want to deal with that.

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“Nurses have been caring for him since his birth in August, but he may need to leave the hospital within weeks,” the BBC said.

“It is not clear why the parents cannot be contacted or why they have not returned to collect Giovannino.”

According to Fox News, the risks to the child are multifarious and include low body temperature, elevated sodium levels, low body temperature and need for eye lubrication.

The symptoms will require treatment throughout the lifetime of the patient and can end up with the individual needing a feeding tube.

At a certain level, we want to sympathize with these parents. After all, that’s a lot of work, isn’t it?

Yes. And so are children.

There are, of course, certain circumstances in which the parents are unable to take care of a child with these kinds of needs. But lest we forget, they are children. They are life. Are we to say that these children should be carted around the hallways of a hospital because, well, better them than us? Are we going to say that a life that places additional burdens upon us is a life too burdensome for us?

Better they leave it in the care of the hospital than to abort the child. But what have we come to when these are our choices? Better they leave it with nurses than abort it? Whatever happened to responsibility?

Not just responsibility to feed and clothe a family, to make something better of ourselves, to dedicate ourselves to something greater than ourselves. These are still important things, mind you, and the development of any of these areas of personal responsibility would have averted this crisis.

But what about the greatest responsibility at all: the responsibility to human life? The responsibility to care for other living beings — not just because of some sort of airy-fairy notion that we’re all interconnected or something like that, but because human beings are made in the image of God with inherent worth and value.

In the days since this story was first publicized, the hospital in Turin has been besieged by calls from potential parents who want to adopt Giovannino. This is all great. It shows that most people place the proper value on human life.

The fact we even had to get to this point is indicative of the fact that not everyone does. This, again, is the slippery slope we put human life upon when we decide what life is worth more than another.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture