Living Infant Declared Dead at Indian Hospital Narrowly Avoids Cremation

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In a clear case of medical negligence, doctors at Shalimar Bagh-located Max Super Specialty Hospital here on Thursday declared a baby dead, along with his stillborn twin, and handed the bodies over to family members in a polythene bag.

Delhi government and Delhi police have both launched inquiries. The packets were placed in a polythene bag and handed to the parents.

"This baby was one of the twins delivered on 30 November morning".

Recounting the ordeal, the grandfather of the baby said, "I was told by the doctors that one baby is already dead while second baby needs to be admitted which will cost Rs 1 lakh per day and total cost will come to around Rs 50 lacs". "We immediately rushed to the nearby hospital", which confirmed the child was alive, said Ashish, the father of the children, to ANI. The other baby was stillborn. The doctors are monitoring the boy and say that he had contacted infection because he was exposed to the environment and had been wrapped in plastic, Deepak also said.

The hospital issued a statement saying they "were shaken and concerned at this rare incident", adding an enquiry has been initiated. We have started immediate inquiry and investigation in this case. "We are in constant touch with the parents and are providing all the needed support", they stated.

Delhi's minister of health also tweeted out that his department would conduct its own inquiry, calling the errant declaration of death an "unacceptable act".

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An order signed by Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said, "An enquiry regarding the said incident is to be initiated and a preliminary report is to be submitted within 72 hours and a final report within a week".

The Delhi Police registered a case under Section 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) of the IPC - an offence punishable with imprisonment up to seven years - against the hospital after family lodged a complaint with police.

Max Hospital, in a statement, said: "It has been brought to our notice that a 22-week premature newborn, who is said to be on life support at a nursing home, was unfortunately handed over (as dead) ... by Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh".

The Delhi Police have called the incident shocking and an example of high negligence.

Delhi police has sent the documents pertaining to the case to the Medical Council of India and the Delhi Medical Council for their opinion.