Born premature, declared ‘dead’: Docs at Delhi hospital say infant may not survive
Doctors at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital say the infant has slim chances of survival as he was born in 24th week of pregnancy and weighs less than 460gms.delhi Updated: Jun 24, 2017 12:33 IST
The day old prematurely born, who was declared dead by the hospital staff and handed over to his parents for burial, is fighting for life in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital even as the hospital is conducting an enquiry into the gross negligence.
The 24-week-old baby — a full term pregnancy gestation is 40 weeks — who weighed less than 460gm at birth is in the hospital nursery on oxygen support. The doctors treating the newborn at Safdarjung are not hopeful of him pulling through. “Even though we are doing our best, he is not doing too well and chances of survival are quite slim,” said Dr AK Rai, medical superintendent at the hospital.
Meanwhile, an inquiry into the lapse is on. “The team is investigating to identify why was the child declared dead,” Rai said. Kanti Devi, 28, gave birth to the infant on Sunday morning in the 24th week of pregnancy — a full term healthy pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks. The baby weighed barely 460gm.
As the boy showed no signs of life, the staff declared him dead without making any attempts to resuscitate the newborn.
Experts say premature babies below 500gm normally do not survive in India, and even if they do, they develop several complications later on in life. A newborn’s healthy birthweight is more than 2.5kg.
“It is an ethical issue because taking care of severely premature babies requires serious medical and financial support. If by chance a baby survives she would develop conditions such as cerebral palsy, and need constant care,” said Dr Deepika Deka, professor at gynaecology department, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
The hospital does admit babies as premature as 26 weeks but in most cases parents are well informed about the dismal survival rate and complications later in life in case they survive.
“We take consent of the parents before admitting severely premature babies after thoroughly Counselling them with the help of a neonatologist about the consequences. Keeping such babies involves a huge cost,” she said.