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A newborn baby, who was nearly buried alive after wrongly being declared dead by doctors at New Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital, breathed his last today, an official said. The one-day old baby was declared dead yesterday by the central government-run hospital's doctors and the still child was wrapped in a plastic bag in preparation for the burial. It was only after relatives decided to take one last look at the baby and the bag was opened that they noticed the newborn's limbs twitching. He was then immediately shifted to the neo-natal ICU, where it managed to survive for about 30 hours. "The baby died today at 4.15 PM," Dr A K Rai, the medical superintendent at Safdarjung hospital, said. The hospital has ordered an inquiry. The baby was delivered yesterday by 28-year-old Shanti Devi, a resident of Badarpur, around 5 AM. Failing to find any movement or respiration, hospital staff declared the baby dead, sealed the body in a pack, labelled it and handed it over to the father for burial. As the mother's condition was not stable, she remained in the hospital while the father and other family members took the body and went home to prepare for burial. But when the father's sister insisted on seeing the baby's face for one last time, they opened the pack. To their shock and surprise, they found the baby breathing and moving its limbs. Immediately they called the police and the baby was rushed to Apollo Hospital from where it was shifted to Safdarjung hospital. "How can they be so irresponsible and declare a baby, who is alive, as dead? If we had not opened the sealed pack in time, my baby really would have died and we would never have come to know the truth.
This is gross negligence on the part of the hospital and the guilty should be punished," the father, Rohit, said yesterday. Dr Rai said the woman had delivered a 22-week-old premature baby. As per WHO guidelines, babies born before 22 weeks and weighing less than 500 gms are not considered as deliveries and generally do not survive. The baby was motionless and did not cry or breathe after delivery. A senior police official said that the complaint will be forwarded to Medical Council of India for fact finding enquiry and legal opinion will also sought to decide what action has to be action.