Baby born at 23 weeks survives 6 hours in morgue refrigerator

A premature baby has been found alive after being in a morgue refrigerator for 6 hours. 

The unnamed baby was born at just 23 weeks at La Margarita hospital in the city of Puebla in Mexico.  

Shortly after its delivery at 4.29am on 21 October, the baby was declared dead after doctors could find no vital signs and moved to the hospital’s morgue.  

When undertakers arrived at the morgue to retrieve the body shortly after 10 am, however, they realised the baby was still alive. 

The owner of the funeral home that sent the undertakers, Miguel Angel Flores, told reporters,When we arrived we realised it was crying and moving. We called the father over and he also saw it was crying and so we got the doctor who had signed the death certificate to come urgently.

“The baby was born just after 4am and was found alive around 10am so that’s nearly six hours that it was in the morgue refrigerator.

“I can’t understand how he didn’t die while he was there. The fridge it was in is normally used to keep the limbs of amputees. I’ve never experienced anything like this before.

The father, who had accompanied the undertakers, immediately began comforting the child, saying, “Here I am. Carry on fighting, little one, resist my love. The boy’s crying, he’s still crying, he’s alive. Poor boy, carrying on fighting tiny one. Please God, accompany this little one, stay with him because he’s still alive.

The baby immediately received medical attention and is now under strict observation in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit. 

The IMMS, a governmental organisation that forms part of Mexico’s health system, confirmed that the case is being investigated.

New guidance

This baby’s story is just one of many in recent years that highlights how premature babies are more likely than ever before to survive. 

The survival rate for extremely premature babies has doubled over the past decade, prompting the creation of new guidance allowing doctors to try to save babies born as early as 22 weeks into a pregnancy.

In 2008 only two out of ten babies born alive at 23 weeks went on to survive. Today it is four out of ten, according to the British Association of Perinatal Medicine.

Once a baby passes 22 weeks, the chances of survival increase week-by-week due to technical advances, better healthcare planning and the increased use of steroids.

The increased survival rates have prompted calls to review the current law in order to help lower abortion numbers and save the lives of babies.

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