A glaring medical error claimed the life of a baby born prematurely to a woman who was the first person in Spain to die of swine flu, a hospital official said Monday.
The infant boy was delivered June 29 via Cesarean section as his 28-week-pregnant mother's condition worsened. The 20-year-old Moroccan woman died the next day, and doctors later said the baby did not have swine flu.
The child died Monday after a member of the nursing staff at the neonatal care unit of Gregorio Maranon Hospital in Madrid fed the baby using the wrong technique, the hospital's managing director Antonio Barba told a news conference.
On Sunday night, the child was fed baby formula intravenously, rather than through a tube as should have been the case, Barba said.
An hour after the feeding, hospital staff became aware of the mistake and tried to clean the baby's blood, but could not save the child.
Barba called the error "very grave negligence and there is no excuse for it."
"The hospital assumes all responsibility, both human and financial, although we know there is no making up for something like this," Barba said.
Spanish media have closely followed the case of the mother, Dalila Mimouni, and her son, Rayan, who was born on his mother's birthday.
Mimouni was confirmed as having swine flu on June 16. In the days leading up to that diagnosis, she went to Madrid-area hospitals three times, complaining of back pain, respiratory trouble or high fever, only to be sent home with a prescription for medication.
The Madrid regional government has defended the medical care she was given. But the woman's family, which lives in Ceuta, a Spanish enclave on Morocco's northern coast, plans to sue two hospitals, one of which is Gregorio Maranon, for negligence, the newspaper El Pais has reported.
Since Mimouni's death, Spain's swine flu death toll has risen to two and the Health Ministry says six people are in serious condition with the illness. The total number of cases recorded in Spain is 1,034, but those numbers are not yet reflected in the World Health Organization's official totals.