BARTLESVILLE, Okla. – A woman who police say had been drinking heavily before she gave birth was charged with child neglect after the baby was born intoxicated and diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome.
Melissa Irene Tanner, 37, had a blood alcohol content of 0.29 percent when she gave birth June 30, and her daughter's was 0.21 percent, according to an affidavit by police. The legal limit for drivers in Oklahoma is 0.08 percent.
Hospital staff had to use an oxygen bag to help the baby start breathing and gave her medication to counteract any narcotics, according to the affidavit.
Tanner allegedly told police she and another person had consumed a case of beer and that she regularly drank during her pregnancy.
She was jailed on $30,000 bail. At a court appearance this week, Tanner was advised of her rights and ordered to return to court Aug. 5. She has not yet filed an application for an attorney or entered a plea, the court clerk's office said.
Sheriff's investigator James Wynn said the baby has fetal alcohol syndrome (search). The baby was placed in a foster home with a caretaker experienced in dealing with addicted infants.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (search) lists the syndrome as the leading preventable cause of mental retardation and physical deformity. The severity of her disability won't be known until she is older.