New Delhi, Dec 1: In a clear case of medical negligence, doctors at a private hospital here declared a baby dead, along with his stillborn twin, and handed the bodies over to family members in a polythene bag. But the baby was found alive before being buried.
The shocking incident prompted Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain to order a probe.
The Shalimar Bagh-located Max Super Specialty Hospital has admitted to negligence and sent the doctors concerned on leave.
According to the aggrieved family, the twins were born premature on Thursday. While one baby was stillborn, the other was declared dead hours later after his condition was stated to be "critical" and "unable to survive".
"At the hospital we were told that one twin was stillborn while the other died later as his condition was critical. Thereafter, they gave us both babies wrapped in a plastic bag," said Ashish Kumar, father of the baby.
"However, while on way for their burial, we observed a slight movement in the packet. After opening the plastic bag, we found the baby was breathing," said Kumar, who rushed to a nearby nursing home in Pitampura along with other family members.
"There the doctors found the baby was alive and put him under critical care," Kumar said.
The police were immediately informed.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Aslam Khan told IANS: "We received a complaint from the baby's father and filed an FIR. The investigation is in initial stages and we will take legal action against the doctors responsible for such inhumane negligence."
The Max Hospital said in a statement: "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.
"This baby was one of the twins delivered on the morning of November 30. The other baby was stillborn.
"We are shaken and concerned at this rare incident. We have initiated a detailed inquiry, pending which the doctors concerned have been asked to proceed on leave immediately."
The hospital said it was in constant touch with the parents and ready to extend all support.
Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda said: "I have directed the Delhi government to look into the matter and take necessary action."
A preliminary report is to be submitted within 72 hours and a final report within a week.
A similar incident was reported from Safdarjung Hospital in June when a newborn was found alive after doctors had declared the baby dead.