Baby Born on Frozen Street Declared Dead, Revives

Girl was born on freezing Toronto sidewalk

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 20, 2013 2:34 AM CST | Updated Feb 24, 2013 11:02 AM CST

(Newser) – Two alert police officers are credited with saving the life of a baby girl who was wrongly declared dead after being born outside in freezing temperatures in Toronto. The girl's mother had attempted to walk to a hospital in temperatures around zero Fahrenheit, but she didn't make it and ended up giving birth on a frigid sidewalk, the Toronto Star reports. Hospital staff tried to revive the newborn, but she was declared dead and covered with a sheet. Two police officers waited with the body for the coroner to arrive and after almost two hours, one of them spotted movement under the sheet.

The officer felt for a pulse and alerted medical staff, who confirmed the baby was alive. She is now in stable condition, along with her 20-year-old mother. Doctors believe that the frigid temperatures could have slowed the newborn's heart close to stopping, while preserving brain function. "Hypothermia can mimic death," an expert tells the Globe and Mail, which notes that it is "a critical tenet of emergency medicine that you’re not dead until you’re warm and dead." The hospital says it is reviewing "all aspects of care" involved in the incident, including the "extensive resuscitation efforts" when the baby first arrived there.

The girl was born on a freezing night on this sidewalk in western Toronto.
The girl was born on a freezing night on this sidewalk in western Toronto.   (YouTube)
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You don't give up until the patient's warm and declared dead. - Gary Sieck, a Mayo Clinic
expert in hypothermia

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