Baby Declared Dead by Chinese Hospital Wakes Up in Morgue

February 8, 2016 Updated: February 8, 2016

An infant pronounced dead by Chinese hospital staff awoke after spending 15 hours in a morgue refrigerator, moments before being carried out for cremation, as reported by local television.

The baby had spent 15 hours in the refrigerator at a temperature of about 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

On Jan. 8, a baby boy was delivered prematurely after a seven-month pregnancy at the Pan’an People’s Hospital in Zhejiang, a coastal province in southeastern China. Despite recommendations that the infant be kept in incubation for a month, the father insisted on taking him out at 23 days so as to be able to bring him home for Chinese New Year.

It wasn’t a good idea. Two days later, the boy’s face turned purple and the family sent him back to the hospital for emergency care. By Feb. 4, the baby’s state had only deteriorated, as reported on Channel Six of Zhejiang Television.

At this point, the pediatrician, Dr. Chen Shuanghua, could confirm neither breathing nor heartbeat. She contacted another doctor, who composed the death certificate. The infant was sent to the mortuary at around 6 p.m. and refrigerated.

But at 9 a.m. the next day, when a worker pulled the infant out of the refrigerator, the baby began to wail. He contacted the father and cancelled the scheduled cremation.

“Having been a pediatrician for over 20 years, I can’t really understand how this miracle happened,” Dr. Chen said.

The baby was rushed for emergency care, and is still under observation. Unfortunately, the odds of his survival are low, Chen said.

Mr. Yang, director of the People’s Hospital, said that the staff made a mistake by not confirming the baby’s death a second time before issuing the death certificate. The hospital is currently negotiating with the family about further treatment.