Letters to the Editor,
The Daily Yomiuri,
Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-8243
The photo accompanying the November 7, 2010 story “57 babies, infants left at ‘baby hatch’ in 4 yrs” sent shock waves tingling through my body and over my skin. It shows Jikei Hospital Director Taiji Hasuda mishandling a baby so badly that the child needs to be supported by chief nurse Yukiko Tajiri standing next to him. One might almost call it child abuse, or abusive mishandling. Are the photographer and the newspaper accomplices in this abomination? First, the crime of negligence and, second, the crime of exploiting a baby for economic gain, for the hospital’s public relations. It looks like Mr. Hasuda doesn’t know how properly to hold a baby, with support under its neck. I felt like shouting aloud at the newspaper in my hands, “Watch the head!” Donning a white lab coat, Hasuda looks like a doctor. Is he a doctor? I hope that hospital directors are also physicians, although I know it’s not a job requirement. Instead he is a businessman, president of the hospital’s operating company. If he is also a physician then the photograph makes him look even worse because he should know better, or at least be more adept with infants. At the very least is he not a father, a grandfather? Did he not learn with his own children how properly to hold a baby? Or, is that kind of thing relegated only to women among Japanese men of his generation?
Since opening the ‘baby hatch’ the hospital and its concept have been credited as well as criticized. Mr. Hasuda takes credit for introducing the hatch, based on a German model. But from the photograph it looks like he had best run the hospital from his desk and leave the babies to the experts.
Once again, “Watch the head!”