India hospital license suspended after ‘dead’ newborn found breathing

A New Delhi hospital’s license was suspended and two doctors were fired after a baby that was declared dead was found to be alive right before burial.

New Delhi's Max Healthcare hospital's license has been suspended after a baby was mistakenly declared dead. Image courtesy of Max Healthcare
New Delhi’s Max Healthcare hospital’s license has been suspended after a baby was mistakenly declared dead. Image courtesy of Max Healthcare

Doctors at the private hospital told the parents their 22-week-old newborn twins, a boy and girl, died. But several hours later, their parents noticed one was still moving. The baby was then taken to a different hospital and placed on life support.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said the case at Max Hospital Shalimar Bagh was “apparent negligence” and “unacceptable.”

A government panel found the hospital had failed to properly test ECG tracings to see if the child was alive, a method that evaluates heartbeats.

Jain said patients currently admitted to the hospital can continue treatment if they wish to stay but no new patients would be allowed.

Hospital officials are making a plea to have their case heard before shutting down operations and in a statement said the ruling is harsh.

“We believe that even if there is an individual error of judgment, holding the hospital responsible is unfair and will severely limit the ability for patients to access treatment. This will compound the shortage of hospital facilities in the national capital.”

Family members of the newborn twins are demanding the responsible doctors be arrested. Government officials told the family the Indian Medical Council will be handling the case.

By Susan McFarland