Argentine 'miracle baby' shows slight improvement

April 15, 2012

A premature baby who survived hours in a morgue refrigerator after being mistakenly declared dead showed "slight improvement" Saturday after suffering from cardiac arrest, her mother said.

"They started to feed her my milk through a tube," Analia Bouter, 29, told the Argentine news agency Telam, adding that the procedure would be repeated every six hours.

Her daughter Luz Milagros was born April 3 after just six months of gestation at Julio Perrando Hospital in the northeastern city of Resistencia.

Shortly after birth, the baby was pronounced dead and placed in the morgue from which her parents rescued her after going to see the body but noticing that she was breathing and moving.

Bouter told Telam news agency that she was able to hold her daughter in her arms for the very first time on Friday.

"That's very important for the recovery," she said, adding that the baby was showing "slight improvement" in her breathing after suffering a earlier this week and showing signs of pulmonary and .

From now on, the mother will be able to hold her baby, who weighed only 800 grams (1.76 pounds) at birth, for a few minutes each day while nurses sanitize the incubator where Luz Milagros remains in the unit.

The father, Fabian Veron, "opened the (morgue refrigerator) drawer with a lever," said Bouter, mother of four other children. "Suddenly, I heard a moan. She was covered with frost."

President Cristina Kirchner spoke by telephone with the couple to express her support.

The baby's miraculous survival, which has captivated the nation and made headlines around the world, prompted her parents to rename her Luz Milagros -- the Spanish words for light and miracles.

An investigation has been launched to determine who was responsible for mistakenly pronouncing the baby dead. The authorities are investigating the midwife and who handled the birth, along with other doctors at the public hospital.

The hospital's director Jose Luis Meirino said the baby was likely able to survive because she "suffered hypothermia, during which the body went into hibernation and stopped its vital signs."

Doctors from several prestigious private hospitals in the capital have traveled to Resistencia to review the baby's condition and advised against moving her to Buenos Aires, saying it could jeopardize her recovery.

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