India doctor mistakenly labels newborn dead, wakens en route to funeral

As the family of the newborn was en route to his cremation, they felt movement from inside one of the bags. The baby was alive and breathing.

NEW DELHI — A doctor in India mistakenly declared a newborn as dead shortly after delivering the boy's twin sister.

Last Thursday, a doctor at Max Hospital in New Delhi's Shalimar Bagh delivered a set of twins — a boy and a girl — according to The Hindustran Times. Upon giving birth, the mother of the children was told the baby girl had been declared a stillborn, while the baby boy was listed in critical condition.

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Two hours later, doctors declared the baby boy dead, CNN reported Saturday.

Later, as the family was en route to a shmashāna — a Hindu cremation ground — for the baby boy, the parents felt "some movements" inside one of the polythene bags provided by the hospital, according to CNN. When the parents opened the bag, they found the newborn boy breathing.

"I couldn't believe my eyes," said Praveen Mailk, the twins' grandfather to CNN.

Following a complaint from the family, the Delhi Police and hospital officials opened a joint investigation. The findings were expected to be made public Monday.

According to The Hindustran Times, the boy's father, Ashish Kumar, alleged the doctors who helped his wife deliver the babies requested Rs 50 lakh — about 75 cents in USD — to keep the baby alive, and another Rs 35,000 — about $540 in USD — to sustain the chances of his wife's survival.

"While the inquiry by the expert group which includes external experts from IMA is still in process, we have decided to terminate the services of the two treating doctors, Dr. A P Mehta and Dr. Vishal Gupta in the case relating to the twin extreme pre-term babies," said the hospital in a statement Sunday, as reported by The Hindustran Times. "This strict action has been taken on the basis of our initial discussions with the expert group and as a reflection of our commitment to higher standards of care."

Meanwhile, the family put their baby boy under the care of a nursing home in New Delhi. Family members are unsure if the newborn will survive.

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