Newborn declared dead at Safdarjung Hospital, later found to be alive

The baby who was announced stillborn by Safdarjung Hospital nurses

Hospital declares newborn baby dead; family realises baby is alive minutes before burial

"How can they be so irresponsible and declare a baby, who is alive, dead?"

"We spotted that he was gasping for breath when a relative insisted on seeing the baby's face one last time before the burial", Rohit Tondon, the deceased's father, told TOI.

A premature baby declared "stillborn" by doctors at Safdarjung Hospital in the national capital yesterday, but later found to be alive, died on Monday after struggling to survive for 30 hours. "We will conduct an inquiry into the matter".

Rohit, the child's father, said, the doctor and the nursing staff had declared the baby dead, sealed the body in a packet, labelled it and gave it to them.

The incident came to light on Sunday morning when a 28-year-old woman, in her fifth month of pregnancy, underwent an emergency operation after she was brought to the hospital bleeding heavily. They opened to pack to find the baby boy not only living and breathing but also moving his limbs in a playful manner, according to local reports.

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Immediately a PCR call was made and the baby was rushed to Apollo Hospital from where it was shifted to Safdarjung.

A police officer, who did not want to be named, said that the baby had died only to later claim that it was a case of mistaken identity and it was another infant in the hospital who had died. The furious family had accused the hospital of gross negligence. "A child born before 22 weeks of pregnancy and weighing less than 500 grams can not survive", said Dr A K Rai, medical superintendent.

The World Health Organisation says babies born before 22 weeks and weighing less than 500 gm are not considered deliveries and generally do not survive. "However, even if the baby did not cry and was motionless, staff should have checked if the baby was alive".

His wife, Shanti Devi, meanwhile, continues to remain under doctors' observation at Safdarjung Hospital.

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