5-month-old foetus found alive after doctors declare it dead

safdar jung hospital

A five-month-old aborted foetus was found alive after doctors at the Safdarjung Hospital here declared it dead and handed it over to the family members in a polythene bag.

The incident came to the 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.

According to family members, who were unwilling to be named, the surgery was performed around 5.45 a.m. and half an hour later the medical staff told them that the baby was born dead.

“Around 6.15 a.m., we were told that the baby was born dead and accordingly they wrapped up the baby in a piece of cloth and polythene and handed it over to us,” said a family member.

She said that while the family members were taking the baby to the cremation ground, they detected movement of the baby.

On unwrapping the packet, family members discovered that the baby was alive and moving his fingers and legs.

Thereafter, immediately the family members rushed back to the Safdarjung Hospital’s Emergency Department and consulted the doctors. The baby has been admitted and is being treated.

The family members have accused the doctors of medical negligence. The medical authorities have said they will try to find out why this happened.

Pratima Mittal, head of Safdarjung Hospital’s Gynaecology and Obstetrics Department, said there is a medical norm which prevents doctors from reviving a pre-mature baby with a weight below 500 gms, if found lifeless initially.

“I will call it a second trimester abortion as the woman was already five months pregnant and there is international rule stating that there should be no attempt to revive a premature baby found dead and having a weight below 500 gms. The doctors followed the norm and did not attempt to revive it,” Mittal told IANS.

As per doctors, during the second trimester of pregnancy, the fingers and toes of the baby are well defined and they can even suck their thumbs, yawn, stretch, and make faces as the nervous system is starting to function at this point in pregnancy.

Mittal also said that an inquiry will be initiated to ascertain the reason behind the incident.