Baby wrongly pronounced dead in fair condition Tuesday

Details emerge in bizarre case as newborn stays at the Hospital for Sick Children.
By: Carys Mills News reporter, Published on Tue Feb 19 2013
Details are beginning to emerge in the bizarre case of a Toronto hospital wrongly pronouncing a newborn girl dead, as politicians await results of a review, in hopes nothing similar happens again.
The baby was listed in fair condition Tuesday evening at the Hospital for Sick Children, where she was transferred from Humber River Hospital. The status means she’s conscious and has a favourable outlook, but may be uncomfortable or have minor complications.
Health Minister Deb Matthews said she’s watching Humber River’s internal probe “very closely” but didn’t give a deadline.
“I can’t stop thinking about the mom who was told that her child had passed away and was then told that her child was, in fact, alive,” Matthews told reporters.
Early Sunday, an unidentified pregnant 20-year-old was walking with her mother toward Humber River hospital but ended up having the child outside, in temperatures of about -15 C. Hypothermia may have stopped the baby’s heart but preserved brain function, experts have told the Star.
When paramedics arrived at 5:59 a.m., the baby had arrived, said EMS spokesperson Kim McKinnon. EMS arrived eight minutes and 34 seconds after the first call was made, McKinnon said — under the target for life-threatening calls.
“It did take a bit of time for the paramedics to get to where she was from where they had to park,” McKinnon said.
It’s unclear if a heartbeat was detected at all but McKinnon said at some point, the baby was without vital signs and rushed to hospital, with paramedics working on the way. Another ambulance took the mother, who was in non-life threatening condition.
The baby arrived at Humber River at 6:27 a.m., McKinnon said. “As far as we can tell, at this point, everything was conducted according to (EMS) policy and procedure,” she said, adding EMS will cooperate with the hospital review.
Starting when the ambulance arrived, hospital staff began “extensive resuscitation efforts,” Humber River said in a statement.
The baby was later pronounced dead. After about 90 minutes, officers waiting for a coroner noticed movement and alerted hospital staff, who confirmed the baby was alive.
Councillor Anthony Perruzza, who represents the area, said he’s eagerly waiting for the results of the review and has been in touch with the hospital.
“I’m somewhat dumbfounded that this happened,” he said, adding he’s also concerned the woman felt she had to walk to the hospital in the frigid cold.

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