Argentina's "Miracle Baby" takes turn for the worse

BUENOS AIRES Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:44am IST

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BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - A baby declared stillborn and then later found alive by her parents at a morgue in Argentina was in critical condition on Friday after taking a turn for the worse overnight, a hospital official said.

Doctors told Analia Bouter that her baby was stillborn when she gave birth in Argentina's northern Chaco province at the start of the month.

But 12 hours after her birth, when Bouter and her husband pried open the wooden coffin inside the refrigerated morgue to see her one last time, they found the baby not only breathing but yawning and stretching her arms.

The couple named her Luz Milagros - her middle name meaning miracles in Spanish - because of her unlikely start to life. But the newborn gave her parents another scare late on Thursday when she stopped breathing and had to be revived by doctors.

"She's an extremely premature baby, 13 days old and weighing 708 grams (1 pound, 5 ounces). She's in a critical state, quite a bit worse than yesterday and at risk of dying," said Diana Vesco, the head of infant care at the Perrando Hospital, where the baby was born.

"Yesterday she had an episode with a hemorrhage in the lungs, which required us to increase artificial respiration. Her heart and breathing stopped. She required advanced CPR," Vesco told Reuters.

Five hospital workers involved in the case have been suspended.

Argentina has been captivated by Luz Milagros' plight since it came to light on Tuesday.

"We believe that if our daughter has gotten this far, despite everything, it's because she's here to stay," Luz Milagros' father, Fabian Veron, told reporters.

The child's mother spoke by telephone on Wednesday with President Cristina Fernandez. "She told me this shows that miracles do happen," Bouter told Clarin newspaper.

(Reporting By Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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