Five month-old foetus correctly pronounced dead: IGMH

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.


Authorities investigate death of baby during labour

Managing Director of Male’ Health Corporation Mohamed Zubair has confirmed that it is conducting an internal investigation after medical staff were forced to decapitate a baby during labour to save the mother.

IGMH said in an earlier statement said that the baby’s head had to be removed after its shoulders became stuck and it died during delivery, risking the life of the mother. Doctors were left with no other choice, the hospital said.

”It is the procedure at Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) that when such incidents occur we always conduct an internal investigation,” said Zubair.

He declined to provide further information as the investigation was ongoing.

”The Health Ministry is the regulator at the hospital, so it is investigating the case as well,” he added.

Media Coordinator at IGMH Zeenath Ali told Minivan News that IGMH expects to conclude its investigation within two days.

”We will share the report with the media,” she said. ”We cannot reveal any information yet.”

She also said that the condition of the baby’s mother was improving.

The hospital came under pressure to investigate after a report in newspaper Haveeru raised public concern as to why the hospital had not performed an earlier cesarean section, given that it was previously understood the baby was large and the mother had been admitted to hospital for some time.

According to Haveeru, the mother was rushed to the operating theatre after the baby’s head became stuck in the birth canal.

The mother had reportedly been admitted to IGMH after doctors in Thaa Atoll and Laamu Atoll hospitals advised the mother to do so given the size of the baby and the mother’s high blood pressure.

Meanwhile, police and the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) have told local medias that they are also investigating the matter.