A newborn baby believed to be dead was discovered alive at a funeral home in eastern China.
The baby boy, who is less than a month old, was mistakenly declared dead at Anhui Provincial Children's Hospital on November 12. He was being treated for a congenital respiratory condition and his parents decided to cease medical treatment, according to a staff member from the hospital, Xinhua reports.
Two days after child was pronounced dead, a worker at the funeral home in Hefei, the provincial capital, heard the baby crying. Once discovered, he was brought back to the hospital.
"Because the baby still had life signs, we continued to give him transfusion to maintain his life for humanitarian reasons," an anonymous hospital staff member told Xinhua.
The doctor and nurse responsible for declaring the infant dead have been suspended from work, according to the hospital.
"If the doctor on duty had the opportunity to observe the case for longer or nursing staff had been more aware, the incident would not have taken place," a hospital worker told the Daily Star.
The newborn was brought to the hospital on October 28 after suffering from pneumonia, breathing problems, brain injuries and irregular heartbeats. The child was reportedly born with severe deformities.
After being told his condition was untreatable, his parents decided to cease treatment. On November 11, an on-duty doctor, only known as Cha, said the child wasn’t breathing and had no heartbeat. He was declared dead and issued a death certificate.
Authorities have ruled the doctor was negligent and ward treating newborns to be chaotic, the Associated Press reports. The child remains in critical condition.
On Weibo, China’s microblogging service, users were horrified by the story.
“Please sentence the parents to five years in jail for abandonment,” one user posted, according to Agence France-Presse.
Another wrote: “Doctors with white coats are really irresponsible, simply treating patients' lives with utter disregard.”