NEW DELHI: A family in Delhi has had to
deal with the death of their newborn a second time in under two days.
After 35-hour long battle for life, the infant boy, who was declared dead by the hospital staff and handed over to his parents for burial, passed away on Monday evening.
The incident happened on Sunday morning at the government-run Safdarjung Hospital, when Shanti Devi, 28, delivered a baby boy around 5am on Sunday.
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.
However, the head of gynaecology department at the hospital told HT that the pregnancy was not more than 20 weeks old.
“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 at 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, 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 severe
ly premature babies requires serious medical and financial support. If by chance a baby survives, she Shanti Devi, 28, delivered a baby boy around 5am on Sunday at the governmentrun Safdarjung Hospital It was a preterm delivery as the foetus was just 24 weeks old and weighed 460 gms The hospital staff found no movement in the newborn. After making several attempts to revive him, they 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 the hospital The baby was admitted to the hospital’s nursery and put on oxygen support He was declared dead at 4.15pm on Monday
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 the case. A team is investigating to identify why the foetus was declared dead on Sunday and handed over to the family.