Imagine that you delivered a premature baby at 26 weeks, was informed that it was a stillbirth and then 12 hours later, you discover that it is alive. That is exactly what happened to Bouter, after delivering a baby girl via a C. Section. Bouter’s daughter was pronounced dead at the time of birth and quickly whisked away to the morgue where it remained in a refrigerated room. Twelve hours later, Bouter and her husband visited the morgue to say a final farewell and take pictures to be sent to the funeral home. Bouter’s husband attempted to open the coffin with great difficulty and once opened, he stepped aside so that Bouter could see the baby. She moved the coverings aside, touched the baby’s hand and then uncovered her face. She then heard a cry and at first thought she was imaging things. As she stepped back, the baby woke up and let out a weak cry. Bouter fell to her knees crying and laughing simultaneously. The baby was quickly taken to the neonatal intensive care unit and is presently on a ventilator. A news conference was held and five healthcare workers were suspended pending an investigation. Bouter plans to sue.
How could this possibly be, one might ask? There are a few possibilities. Perhaps the baby had a weak heartbeat that went undetected or it was the cold temperature that kept it alive. Almost 2 years ago to the exact date, I wrote a blog about hypothermia, (see 5 “Cool” Ways to Save a Newborn’s Life), an innovative way to keep critically ill newborns alive. This process was initiated at the University of California in San Francisco, had specific protocols that were used on babies greater than 36 weeks and must be implemented within the newborn’s first 6 hours of life. Bouter’s baby was only 26 weeks but the process still worked.
In 2005, there was a case of tourist Dan O’Rielly who drowned in Mexico and was airlifted to Houston where he was given a cooling blanket with a temperature of 90 and the man came back to life 12 hours later. He went without oxygen for 45 minutes before he was intubated. There IS something to this freezing stuff and I hope medical science will research the matter further. In the meantime, may the story of Luz Milagros (Little Miracle) continue to inspire us all. Obviously she was meant to be here.