Delhi hospital hands over ‘dead’ newborn to family, found alive at home

In a bizarre incident, a newborn, which the staff of city hospital had presumed dead and handed over to its parents, moved when the family reached home.

The incident happened on Sunday morning at the government-run Safdarjung Hospital, when Kanti Devi, 28, delivered a baby boy around 5am.

It was a preterm delivery as the foetus was just 24 weeks old — a full-term healthy pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks — and weighed 460 gms.

The hospital staff found no movement in the newborn, after making several attempts to revive him declared him dead and handed him over in a sealed pack, the family alleged.

After the family reached home, they found the boy moving and brought him back to Safdarjung.

“I wouldn’t have opened the polythene if it weren’t for the ladies of the family; they insisted on seeing the boy’s face. When we opened the cover we found he was moving his hands and feet,” said newborn’s father, Rohit Kumar, 33, who is a daily wage labourer.

The hospital admitted lapse and has ordered an inquiry.

“We do admit there has been a lapse on our part; as it appears the staff on duty did not consult the doctor and presumed the baby dead as it had no signs of life and weighed 460 gms, which isn’t even viable as per standards. Such foetuses hardly survive,” said Dr AK Rai, medical superintendent, Safdarjung Hospital.

The newborn has been admitted in the hospital and is in a critical condition. “I am told he was gasping when brought to us and is critical,” said Dr Rai.

The hospital has formed an inquiry committee that includes heads of gynaecology and paediatric departments.

“I have ordered an inquiry, and I am expecting a report on exactly what happened within a week,” he said.

The hospital in the past has had been criticized for similar lapses. In June this year, a 25-year-old woman had alleged that she had given birth to a boy but was handed over a girl child.

In January, Delhi Commission for Women had a notice to the hospital, after one of a pair of twins allegedly went missing soon after the birth.

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