In a botched delivery, a stillborn baby’s head got separated from its torso, which remained inside the mother's womb. The incident took place at a primary health clinic in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu on Sunday.

Officials with the Directorate of Public Health said Wednesday that the baby had died inside the mother’s womb and the torso, which remained inside the womb, was removed later on.

The woman, identified as Bommidala, was rushed to the health clinic Sunday afternoon after she developed labor pain. An unidentified relative of the woman said the nurses at the clinic ignored the woman’s plea for pain relief medicine. The relative also claimed there were no doctors at the health clinic and that instead of referring the woman to a better clinic for safer C-section, the nurses themselves went ahead with vaginal delivery, local daily the Times Of India reported.

Officials from the health department, however, said the delivery was conducted in a state of emergency and that the initial reports suggested an intrauterine death (IUD) had occurred.

Post the surgery the torso remained inside the woman after which she was rushed to another hospital for an emergency surgery, where the doctors removed the baby’s body and saved the mother’s life. Doctors treating the woman said she was stable, the News Minute reported.

Deputy director of public health Dr Senthil Kumar said, “Initial reports we received from the centre show it was an intrauterine death. The baby had to be removed to save the life of a woman. Such fetus can be distorted and have loss of skin. Since the baby was just 1.5kg (3.30 lb), they decided that vaginal labor would not be a hazard. But during vaginal delivery the head was separated.”

“Preliminary investigations are underway. We are trying to find out the reason behind this,” he added.

The incident comes to light a few months after a baby’s head was decapitated during delivery after the nurse ended up putting excess force while the fetus was being pushed out of the birth canal. The incident took place in western Indian state of Rajasthan in January. Instead of reporting the incident to the superiors, the nurse took the torso of the child to the mortuary and send the woman back home, saying the baby had died. When the woman went to another hospital for further treatment, doctors realized something had gone wrong with the delivery only to find out that the baby’s head was still inside the womb.