The Delhi Medical Council has said that it was because of procedural lapses and not medical negligence that a baby was erroneously declared dead last year at Max Hospital in Shalimar Bagh.

The baby and his twin sister were born prematurely at the hospital on November 30. Doctors declared them stillborn. But when the parents were on their way to the crematorium, they found the boy was still alive. They took him to another hospital, but the baby died. The parents alleged that Max Hospital not only wrongly declared their children dead, but also handed them the babies in a plastic bag.

After a case of medical negligence was filed, the Delhi government cancelled the registration of the hospital. A three-member government committee had found that prima facie, there was “gross medical negligence on part of the hospital authorities”. But 10 days later, on December 20, the hospital resumed operations saying the “appropriate appellate authority” it had appealed to had stayed the cancellation of its registration.

The DMC, which is a statutory body that takes action against erring doctors in case of medical negligence, took suo motu cognisance of the case. In its report on May 2, it said there were inadequate documentation and procedural lapses. It said that there was no formal declaration of death as the baby had a heartbeat for nearly four to five hours, reported the Hindustan Times.

“As per international medical literature, foetus less than 24 weeks, if born, is an abortus and is not considered-viable and is not likely to survive,” the DMC report read, according to The Indian Express. The council has submitted its report to the Delhi Police’s Crime Branch.