Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) has said that a five month foetus born prematurely yesterday (January 1) was correctly pronounced deceased before being sent to a cemetery in Male’ for burial.
Local media reported yesterday that the foetus had been incorrectly diagnosed as deceased by staff at the state-run hospital after showing signs of life at the cemetery.
A spokesperson for IGMH today claimed that the foetus, which was born severely malformed, was believed to have been mistaken as alive by cemetery workers after a “reflex” action gave the impression of signs of life.
Relatives of the mother had expressed concerns about their treatment and how they felt IGMH had dealt with the matter, the hospital spokesperson confirmed.
The Ministry of Health has meanwhile announced it would be reviewing policies at state-run hospitals in the Maldives and their handling of such situations as details of the case emerged today.
The parents of the foetus were also shown to have shown concern about their treatment by the hospital, accusing staff of negligence. The matter was said to have been reported to police, according to the Sun Online news agency.
Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef was not responding to calls at the time of press concerning the matter.
The IGMH spokesperson told Minivan News this evening that the foetus, which has been born under inducement from drugs, had a severe malformation where the walls of its skull had not been developed fully.
Staff at the hospital claimed that for the mother’s safety, doctors had decided to induce labour with drugs on the basis that the severity of the condition would have given the foetus a very limited chance of survival as well as severe brain damage.
A spokesperson for IGMH confirmed that after the foetus had been returned from the cemetery, staff did not find a pulse or heartbeat. No treatment could be offered, the hospital source claimed.
Minister of Health Dr Ahmed Jamsheed Mohamed confirmed to Minivan News today that he had initiated an inquiry into the incident, which would then be used to enact any potential recommendations or action needed to be taken by hospital staff in future.
Dr Jamsheed said he was not able to discuss the nature of some of these changes before a review had been completed.
“The changes would depend on the findings and recommendations. The issue would be looked at jointly by the Ministry of Health and IGMH,” he said. “The policy decisions and regulatory measures would be common to all state hospitals, but would also depend on the level of hospital and respective services provided.