Baby Survives Hours in Refrigerated Morgue

by Stephen Kane
SC Copy Editor

On April 3, Argentinean doctors pronounced Analia Bouter’s premature baby dead, whisking the tiny girl away to Perrando Hospital’s refrigerated morgue.

Nearly 12 hours later, Analia and her husband, Fabian Veron, visited their daughter to say goodbye and take a photo of her for the funeral.  The couple soon broke down in joyful tears after discovering their baby alive: breathing, yawning, and stretching.

“At night, I went with my husband to where the little box was.  A man pried it open.  I suddenly heard a whimper.  She was all covered up and full of something that looked like frost,” said Analia.

Analia’s brother raced the freezing baby back to the ward.  “She felt like an ice-cold bottle,” he said.

“We knelt down and thanked God for this miracle.  The doctor always treated the baby as if she were dead… 15 minutes after my daughter was born, she was already placed in a closed coffin,” Analia said.

The couple aptly named their baby Luz Milagros Vernon, her first and middle name respectively meaning “light” and “miracles” in Spanish.

Although Luz—born a mere one pound 12 ounces—defied significant prenatal and hypothermic odds, she suffered “cardiac arrest that required advanced resuscitation” on April 13, said Diana Vesco, Perrando Hospital’s Chief of Neonatology.  “She showed signs of pulmonary and gastrointestinal bleeding.”

As of April 16, Luz is still in intensive care, with numerous machines and drugs assisting her breathing—but, Luz has reportedly started drinking her mother’s breast milk and gaining strength, which might significantly increase her chance of recovery.

With the main focus still on their daughter, Analia and Fabian do intend to sue Perrando Hospital’s staff members for malpractice—five of which have since been suspended pending official investigation.

Rafael Sabatinelli, health secretary for Argentina’s Chaco province, said, “Every member of the team that was involved has some responsibility, so they will have to answer for this.”  Sabantinelli called the case “disgraceful” and promised a full investigation.

Reportedly, the health ministry is giving the couple psychological counseling and financial assistance, including cell phones, an economic subsidy, and a motorcycle.

Perrando Hospital Director, Dr. José Luis Meiriño, said, “We work under strict protocols, but there’s no explanation for this.”

Dr. Meiriño alleges Luz had no vitals when she was born: The gynecologist on hand found no vital signs and the neonatal doctor found no vital signs.  After doctors observed the baby for some time and concluded no sign of life, morgue workers took her away.

“Up to that point, there were still no vital signs,” said the hospital director.  “They all reached the same conclusion that this girl was stillborn.”

As for now, Analia and Fabian are just happy to have their daughter alive and in stable condition.  Many of the unanswered questions must wait until further investigation.

“Luz is a miracle,” Analia said.  “If we had left it to go and see her another day, she may not have held on.  I can’t explain what happened.  Only that God has performed a miracle.”

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