Doctor charged after wrongly certifying newborn baby dead

A DOCTOR who certified dead a Mexican baby which later revived in its coffin has been charged with homicide.

Dr Jenny Gijon, who declared the premature infant girl dead in early August, faces homicide, abuse and misconduct charges, said Jose Rodriguez, the attorney general of Hidalgo state.

During the wake, the baby’s parents heard a strange noise coming out of her little coffin and when they opened it found the baby crying. The baby was taken to hospital, but died three days later of asphyxia.

Rodriguez said the death caused “great indignation and anger”. Another doctor, Dario Davila, who allegedly hired Gijon improperly to take over his shifts at the hospital, faces charges of abuse of authority and misconduct, as does the hospital’s former director, his assistant and the head of the obstetrics department.

Dafne Marisol Hernandez said she was preparing for her daughter’s burial when she heard noises coming from the coffin. When she opened the lid she discovered the baby crying.

“That was when we realised she was alive,” Hernandez told the Reforma news agency. “There were movements and noises from inside the box where she had been placed to be buried.”

Hernandez was 24 weeks pregnant when her water broke. Fearing for her life, doctors at a Pachuca, Mexico hospital quickly induced labour.

The baby was pronounced dead a short time after the birth when doctors said they could no longer detect a heartbeat.

The case is “very strange and inexplicable,” Adolfo Martinez, director of the hospital, told news agency EFE. “We don’t know exactly when the heart and lung function returned.”

Just as strange is the fact that such a weak child could survive being declared dead. Once the death certificate had been signed, the baby was taken to an ice-cold mortuary.

She was left there for more than four hours before being given back to the family.

The tiny infant weighed only 1.3 pounds at birth.

The girl’s mother, believes the crucial hours spent in a cold hospital morgue covered by a damp cloth killed the child.

“The nurses and doctors, especially those who issued the death certificate, always treated us with arrogance,” she said.

“If it was not for their actions she might still be alive.”

Hernandez was told last week a scan showed the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck and it appeared dead.

A similar incident happened in Paraguay last year, the Daily Mail reported.

Jose Alvarenga was told his baby had died a short time after birth.

Hospital staff delivered the body to the home of Alvarenga for a funeral service, and when he opened up the box to say good bye, he discovered the baby was breathing.

Alvarenga rushed the infant back to the hospital where it was put into an oxygen chamber and stabilised.

More in this section


Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox