Newborn Who Was Buried Alive Found Crying After Being Exhumed

In a situation described as "utter medical negligence," a baby girl in India who was originally pronounced dead by hospital staff was later found to be found alive—in the middle of her own burial service.

The mistake reportedly occurred today due to employees at the Sub District Hospital in Jammu and Kashmir's Banihal, where the baby girl was diagnosed as stillborn.

The Press Trust of India reported that the girl "was found to be alive" when her family dug up her grave approximately one hour after she was buried.

Greater Kashmir reported that the baby was born during an average delivery to Shamemma Begum, who is married to Basharat Ahmed Gujjar. Once hospital workers shared the worst possible news, locals from about two miles around the Bankoot village began to stage a demonstration to protest the burial site of the baby—who was buried in a regular graveyard rather than at an ancestral site.

According to NDTV, a local sarpanch or decision-maker named Manzoor Alyas Wani alleged that the baby was declared dead and did not receive proper medical attention at the hospital for a period of two hours prior to the burial at a local village.

That was when locals showed up on the scene to protest the burial site, forcing the gravesite to be dug up by the family.

"To their utter shock, the infant girl was found alive and crying," alleged locals, according to Greater Kashmir. The baby then was taken back to the original hospital and then referred to a hospital in Kashmir for specialized treatment.

Indian Baby Girl
A girl who was originally thought to be stillborn was buried and later excavated from the site following protests. It led to the immediate suspension of two hospital employees. iStock/Getty Images

"This is (the) height of negligence and non-professionalism on the part of doctors and other staff posted at SDH Banihal," a protesting local reportedly said during the demonstration.

Kashmir Life reported that the specialized hospital is in Srinagar, the largest city of Jammu and Kashmir. Following the burial, a police party headed by station house officer Banihal Muneer Khan arrived at the protest site, reportedly pacifying protesters "with the assurance that action, as warranted under the law, will be taken against whosoever found culpable for the dereliction."

News agency GNS, quoting Deputy Commissioner Ramban Masrat-ul-Islam, said that two hospital employees involved in the error were immediately suspended and that an inquiry is pending.

The employees are a staff nurse and a "sweeper" working in the hospital's gynecology section.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine reported that less than 5 percent of stillbirths are recorded worldwide. The result could be caused by a variety of factors, including intrapartum complications, hypertension, diabetes, infection, congenital and genetic abnormalities, placental dysfunction, and pregnancy continuing beyond 40 weeks.

Stillborn numbers in India are way above average, however. According to estimated United Nations data released in the fall of 2020, India accounted for about 0.34 million of the 1.9 million global stillbirths in 2019—the highest percentage worldwide.

India, Pakistan, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, China and Ethiopia reportedly accounted for almost half of all worldwide stillbirths.

However, India has made progress in that realm. The UN reported that it cut its stillbirth rate by about 53 percent between 2000 and 2019, or from about 29.6 percent to about 13.9 stillbirths annually.

It's unclear how the COVID-19 pandemic affected numbers since that report.

Newsweek reached out to the Sub District Hospital for comment.