Photo: CD Bank
Slim chances (illustration)
Photo: CD Bank

Preemie spontaneously breathes hours after pronounced dead

Medical staff at Nahariya hospital stunned by premature baby showing vital signs five hours after being pronounced dead, kept in hospital cryolab. Case dubbed medical miracle, Health Ministry to launch probe

A medical miracle or gross negligence? A premature baby girl, born as a result of induced labor, was pronounced dead Monday at the Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya, only to be discovered, by chance, as has having viable vital signs five hours later.


According to the information available about the case, the baby's mother, five months pregnant at the time, checked into the hospital several days ago, for a series of prenatal tests.


The tests indicated she was experiencing some intrauterine bleeding and that her fetus had no pulse. Her doctors then scheduled a second-trimester termination procedure, which was carried out on Monday morning.


Ynet has learned that once the procedure was completed, the medical staff followed protocol and verified that the preemie was not breathing, subsequently pronouncing her dead.


The body was then transferred to the hospital cryogenic laboratory (cryolab), before being sent on to the pathology lab for a battery of routine postmortem tests, meant to give the doctors and her parents more answers as to the cause of her death.


The preemie spent five hours inside the cryolab's cooler when her father, accompanied by the medical staff, asked to see the body.


Upon opening the cooler, the baby began showing signs of spontaneous breathing. She was rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit and placed in an incubator and on a respirator, to assist her breathing.


Divine intervention?

Dr. Moshe Daniel, Deputy Chief of Staff at the Nahariya hospital, told Ynet the case stunned the staff:


"I've been a doctor for 35 years and this is the first time I've ever seen such a thing happen. This is somewhat of a medical miracle. We've informed the Health Ministry and I guess they'll appoint a commission of inquiry. The hospital will ask for an external investigation of the case."


Dr. Daniel was unfortunately pessimistic as to the baby's chances of survival: "Because of just how premature she is, her chances are very slim. Then again, she already saw divine intervention once so you never know. We're doing everything we can for her."


As for the miracle, Daniel estimated it was the cold that kept the baby's metabolism rate and use of oxygen low, adding that medical literature is familiar with case of children and adults who have "come back to life" after being seemingly frozen. He was, however, unaware of any recorded case involving a baby.


A second-trimester termination procedure, done in this case in the 23rd week of pregnancy, is done by inducing labor, and while considered a termination, had the medical staff detected any fetal vital signs they would have immediately done everything in their power to resuscitate the baby.


פרסום ראשון: 08.18.08, 15:42
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