An investigation is underway at a hospital in Castro, Brazil, after the death of a newborn baby which was mistakenly sent to the facility’s morgue while still alive.
According to the child’s father, Gilmar de Farias, the infant boy died as a result of negligence on the part of the attending physician who failed to notice that the baby, born three months premature, was still breathing during a hurried postnatal examination.
"When the child was born, the doctor told my wife that our son had been stillborn. I watched as the nurse cleaned the baby, placed him in a cardboard box, and took him to the obstetric ward," says Farias.
"I was in despair. We was told that, if we wanted to, we could see the baby in the morgue. After talking to my wife, we decided to go there. I did not see anything strange and really believed he was dead. I was very sad. But later, my mother-in-law also wanted to look and she told me that he was breathing."
Farias says he then alerted the hospital staff that his child was still alive, and the baby was rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit and placed inside an incubator.
Despite close observation and breathing help from a respirator, however, the newborn was unable to recover and died three hours later.
The family believes that the doctor did not properly examine the newborn before declaring it stillborn, and that if the child had received intensive care earlier instead of being sent to the morgue, it might still be alive. The Farias have since filed a police report accusing the physician of malpractice.
"I’m disgusted with all of this," says Farias.
Hospital administrators say that the doctor in question has been placed on leave and that an internal investigation is underway to determine if there was a breach of protocol.