Humber River Hospital is investigating how a newborn girl was pronounced dead and left covered by a sheet, waiting for the coroner, until police officers noticed she was alive after all.
“The review is looking at all aspects of care provided in this case, including the extensive resuscitation efforts by hospital physicians and staff beginning in the ambulance itself when it arrived at the hospital,” said hospital spokesman Gerard Power in a statement. “The review will be conducted in consultation with all appropriate agencies, including Toronto Police and EMS. The Ministry of Health has been informed as well.”
On Sunday, the Toronto Police Service said two officers helped save the life of the newborn girl after the baby was pronounced dead. A 20-year-old pregnant woman and her mother were walking to the hospital, but did not make it in time and the woman gave birth on York Gate Boulevard in the Jane and Finch area, according to police. Police and emergency services arrived and took them to the Humber River Hospital’s Finch site.
“The two officers were guarding the body awaiting the coroner and noticed the baby wasn’t dead,” said Staff Sgt. Ian Lamond, with 31 division.
Lamond did not know what led to the infant being pronounced dead.
“Certainly, if they hadn’t have been there, noticed the child was alive and alerted the hospital staff, who knows what might have happened,” Lamond said.
Police spokeswoman Const. Wendy Drummond said it was 90 to 100 minutes after the baby was pronounced dead that the officers saw the sheet that had been placed over the infant girl was moving. The officers checked for a pulse and found one, she said. The infant is in stable condition, she added.
Deputy Chief Peter Sloly first announced the incident on Twitter, saying: “A #Toronto woman had a baby today but it was pronounced dead. 2 #TPS cops … saw the baby move, got a pulse + saved its life!”
On Sunday, no one at Humber River Hospital was able to explain what led to the infant being pronounced dead when reached by phone. The on-call co-ordinator for the newborn floor raised concern about patient confidentiality, and said, “I didn’t know police go around giving this type of information, I don’t have no idea what they’re talking about and I am not in the position to give out any information about any patient.”