BUENOS AIRES -- Doctors in Argentina on Friday struggled to save the life of a baby who was mistakenly declared dead last week and spent 12 hours in a refrigerated hospital morgue before her mother discovered she was alive.
Luz Milagros Veron, who survived in a tiny wooden box in the morgue at Perrando de Resistencia Hospital, on Thursday suffered cardiopulmonary failure and an infection. She was in critical condition and in the neonatal intensive care ward Friday, hospital administrators said.
The baby was born three months premature, weighing slightly more than a pound and apparently stillborn. Doctors at the hospital signed a death certificate and sent her to the morgue.
Before leaving the hospital later that night, her mother Analia Bouter, asked to see her infant’s body one last time. After a hospital worker pried the lid off the box, she heard her frost-covered baby whimper and saw her make slight movements, Bouter later told reporters at a news conference. The baby was in stable condition until her Thursday emergency.
Hospital director Dr. Jose Luis Meiriño has insisted that the hospital follows “strict medical protocols” and that the baby was born with “no apparent vital signs.” Her birth was attended by an obstetrician, a gynecologist and a neonatologist, he said.
The provincial health minister, Francisco Baquero, has said an investigation would be conducted, adding, “We’re dealing with a human error.”
The baby’s father, Fabian Veron, told reporters: “In spite of everything, we believe that if my daughter is still with us its because it’s a message that she will survive.” The couple have four other children.
-- Andres D'Alessandro in Buenos Aires and Chris Kraul in Bogota, Colombia
Photo: Analia Bouter and her husband, Fabian Veron. Credit: European Pressphoto Agency