A 22-week-old premature baby, weighing under 500 grams, was reportedly declared dead by doctors at Safdarjung Hospital on Sunday. As the family made preparations for the burial, they found that the child was alive. Hospital officials have now initiated an inquiry to look into why the baby was declared dead and handed over to the parents.
Confirming the incident, Dr A K Rai, Medical Superintendent, Safdarjung Hospital, said there was “no medical negligence”. However, he said an inquiry has been initiated as to “why the baby was declared dead”.
“The baby weighed 460 grams. As per WHO guidelines, such children don’t survive and are not supposed to be revived. Hence, there is no medical negligence on part of the doctors. However, even if the baby did not cry and was motionless, staff should have checked if the baby was alive. We will conduct an inquiry into the matter,” Dr Rai said.
The father said nursing staff had told him the baby was not breathing and handed over a “sealed packet”. “We had started to make arrangements for the funeral when we found that the limbs were moving. When we opened the packet, we could see the baby breathing. We made a PCR call and rushed to Apollo Hospital,” the father said.
While confirming that they received the PCR call, police said the child’s family gave in writing that they do not want any legal action in the matter. Meanwhile, Dr Pratima Mittal, Professor and Head, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, said it is a case of an “abortion” and that there “are no chances of a premature baby surviving”.
“The woman came to the hospital bleeding. Under WHO guidelines, this is a case of abortion; we consider a case an abortion if it is either a 20-week pregnancy or if the baby weighs under 500 gms. In such cases, there is no revival. The baby has been kept in the nursery. However, there are no chances of survival. But staff should have waited before declaring the baby dead,” she said.