Police investigate serial deaths of four newborns in incubator

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2017-12-17 14:57 Updated : 2017-12-17 14:57
글씨작게 글씨크게

Ewha Womans University Mokdong Hospital director Chung Hye-won (center) and doctors bow in a gesture of apology for the sudden deaths of four infants in their incubators. [Yonhap News Photo]

Police opened an investigation Sunday into the serial deaths of four newborn babies in incubators at a college hospital in Seoul for unknown reasons that prompted health officials to perform an epidemiologic probe.

The four died one by one in their incubators at the intensive care unit of Ewha Womans University Mokdong Hospital in western Seoul between 9:31 pm and 10:53 pm on Saturday, police said.

Hospital director Chung Hye-won apologized saying cardiac arrest occurred despite "active" cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). "We sincerely apologize to the bereaved families for the very unusual unfortunate things," she said, pledging cooperation with police and health authorities to identify causes.

Police sent forensic experts because the hospital was unable to find the exact cause of the sudden deaths during CPR treatment. A total of 16 babies had been in the unit.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was on standby, waiting for the outcome of autopsies to see if the deaths were related to any contagious virus.