‘Dead’ newborn who started breathing on way to funeral has died, family confirms

An image of Max Super Specialty Hospital, Shalimar Bagh in New Delhi, India. (Credit: Shams Qari/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

NEW DELHI – A baby boy mistakenly declared dead by an Indian hospital last week, passed away on Wednesday morning.

Dr. Sandeep Gupta, who was treating the baby at the Delhi New Born Center said “we knew from the beginning that he may not survive but we were trying our best.”

The baby was born at the Max Super Speciality Hospital in Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi, last Thursday but pronounced dead two hours later, the boy’s grandfather, Praveen Malik, told CNN.

His mother had given birth to twins but the girl was declared stillborn.

On the way to the cremation ground, the family found the boy still breathing after noticing “some movements” inside one of the polythene bags containing the babies’ bodies.

“When we opened the bag, we found the boy breathing. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Malik said in a previous CNN report.

Speaking with CNN after the baby’s death on Wednesday, Malik said the family was devastated. “Our final demand with the government, with the world, is that we need justice,” he said.

Malik said the family had requested financial assistance from the Delhi government to move the baby to a “bigger and better” facility.

“We didn’t get anything from the government except false promises,” he said.

According to Gupta, the baby died due to multiple organ dysfunction. “He was unable to keep his vitals up,” Gupta said.

“We knew from the beginning that he may not survive but we were trying our best. Had the baby not been exposed for so many hours after his birth, maybe we could have probably prolonged his life longer.”

Max Healthcare fired the two doctors considered responsible earlier this week, but emphasized that the decision to let the doctors go should not be interpreted as an admission of guilt.

“We wish to clarify that this action should not presuppose finding of any lapse by the expert group and should not be construed in any way to be anything other than an expression of our continued commitment to providing quality healthcare,” the statement from Max Healthcare said.

This case of medical negligence has received significant attention from local politicians.

State Health Minister Satyendar Jain tweeted last week that he has ordered an inquiry “into this unacceptable act.”

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also tweeted saying authorities would take the “strongest action” if someone is found at fault.

“We want the Delhi government to take strict action against the hospital authorities for their negligence,” the boy’s grandfather previously told CNN.

The Delhi government’s preliminary inquiry report was submitted to the Delhi health minister on Tuesday; it found the hospital guilty of not having followed prescribed medical norms when dealing with newborn infants, a Delhi government official who was not authorized to speak on the record about the report told CNN.

“No ECG (Electrocardiography) tracings were done to trace whether the child was alive,” the source said, referring to the findings of the initial report.

In response to the Delhi government’s report, Max Healthcare said in a statement, “We would like to thoroughly review the final report when we receive it before commenting.”

“In the meantime, we are fully cooperating with all relevant authorities on this issue,” the statement said.

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