Premature newborn, declared dead by Safdarjung hospital, dies after battling for life for 35 hours
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Premature newborn, declared dead by Safdarjung hospital, dies after battling for life for 35 hours

The infant was born nearly 20 weeks premature and was put on life support after he was found alive several hours after hospital staff declared him dead.

delhi Updated: Jun 20, 2017 11:31 IST
Rhythma Kaul
Rhythma Kaul
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Safdarjung hospital,Premature baby,Foetus
The premature baby didn’t show any signs of life immediately after birth, leading to doctors declaring the infant dead. However, to the family’s shock, he was found breathing several hours later.(HT FILE)

A family in Delhi has had to deal with the death of their newborn a second time in under two days.

The infant boy, who was born nearly 20 weeks premature, was declared dead after delivery on Sunday morning but began moving when the family took him home for the funeral.

Now, after a 35-hour long battle for life, the baby was once again declared dead by the Safdarjung hospital on Monday evening.

The baby was said to be 24-weeks-old — a full term pregnancy gestation is 40 weeks — weighed 460gm at birth, and was in the hospital nursery on oxygen support.

“We called him foetus because ultrasound showed the pregnancy to be 20 weeks old and when we weighed him again he was just 410 gm. It was an abortion not a delivery,” the head of the hospital’s gynaecology department said.

“We declared him dead around 4.15pm.”

Doctors treating the foetus were not hopeful of him pulling through.

Experts say premature babies below 500gm normally do not survive in India, and even if they do, they develop several complications later in life. A newborn’s healthy birthweight is more than 2.5kg.

As per WHO guidelines, babies born before 22 weeks and weighing less than 500 gms are not considered as deliveries and generally do not survive

“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 and less, 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,” Dr Deka said.

Meanwhile, the hospital and the Union health ministry have begun an inquiry into case. A team is investigating to identify why the fetous declared dead and handed over to the family.

First Published: Jun 19, 2017 21:49 IST