Police in Israel opened an investigation this week into allegations that a nurse unplugged a very premature baby’s respirator because the baby seemed unlikely to survive, the Times of Israel reports.
The reports do not indicate the baby’s age or gender. Viability for a baby in the womb generally is considered to be about 24 weeks, but a growing body of research suggests babies can survive even earlier because of modern medical technology.
Israeli police said someone told them about the alleged incident at Schneider Children’s Hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel recently after she felt the hospital was not taking her concerns seriously, according to the report.
According to police, the alleged incident occurred about two months ago. They said they have just started investigating, and have not spoken with the nurse yet. The health ministry indicated to the news outlet that it also is investigating the matter.
Here’s more from the report:
The complaint to police said that upon realizing that the likelihood of the infant’s survival was weak, the accused nurse disconnected the respirator and waited until there were no further signs of life before plugging the machine back in.
The complainant first reported the incident to Schneider’s administration, and only approached police after she felt her claims were not being taken seriously.
However, the hospital said that the incident had been thoroughly investigated and no wrongdoing had been found.
Schneider’s Hospital said that the case involved a “fetus suffering from severely life-threatening injuries due to premature birth with slim chances of survival.”
“The claim was examined by a senior professional medical team, which included the chair of the hospital’s ethics committee, and was found to be baseless. Under these circumstances, there was no reason to report the incident to the Ministry of Health or the police,” the hospital said.
Earlier this year, a study out of Duke University found that more premature babies are surviving at 23 weeks. The researchers found a “small but significant drop in fatalities for babies born between 23 and 37 weeks gestation,” as well as a decrease in premature babies manifesting with neurophysiological problems, the Daily Mail reported.
In April, researchers also published a new study about artificial wombs, which could help very premature babies to survive in the future. The scientists said the artificial wombs helped premature animal babies to develop normally; they were about the equivalent age of a human baby between 22 weeks and 23 weeks.
LifeNews has highlighted many of these tiny babies’ stories over the years. For example, in August 2014, Isla Allen was born at 24 weeks and weighed 1 pound, 7 ounces. After she was born, her heart stopped five times and she fought deadly conditions including sepsis, lung diseases, blood infections and a bleed on the brain. But this miracle baby fought through and, by five months, was well enough to be released from the hospital.
Baby Connor is another example. He was born at 23 weeks and two days weighing 1 pound, 2 ounces. When he was born, Connor was covered from the neck down in the liquid-filled freezer bag to improve his chances of surviving. Eventually, Connor had three operations for a perforated bowel, suffered from fungal meningitis, chronic lung disease and a bleed to the brain. Nevertheless, he survived.
LifeNews Note: File photo.