The newborn who died in Rome: what is known and all the doubts to be clarified

From the position of the little body, to the timing of the discovery, to the possible lack of surveillance: these are the points to be investigated. The young mother: 'I asked for help, it was useless'


'I demand clarity on the death of my child ... It is as if it happened yesterday'. The mother of the newborn who died of suffocation two weeks ago at the Sandro Pertini hospital in Rome, agreed to speak to Corriere della Sera about what happened, reconstructing those terrible hours, while wishing to remain anonymous.

Diletta Leotta with Loris Karius: go 'smooth' at padel Diletta Leotta with Loris Karius: go 'smooth' at padel

VERY LONG LABOR – “I was still very tired – recalls the woman who is 30 and lives with her family in the hinterland of the capital -, rather tried by the birth, after 17 hours of labor, on January 5th. I had entered the hospital the previous day, we had chosen the Pertini because I was fond of this place since I was born there too. For two nights, the one after giving birth and the next, I managed, with difficulty, to keep the baby close to me. I was upset, I asked the nurses for help, asking them if they could take him at least for a while, however I was always told that it was not possible to take him to the nursery. And the same happened on Saturday night. In fact, I felt worse than the previous days. I asked again to take the baby, they didn't. Two nights I resisted, the last one I was really tired. 'It's not possible', I was told once again.' However, the child was healthy, weighing about three kilos, until in the middle of the night between 7 and 8 January, the young mother was awakened by the ward staff. “The baby was no longer in bed with me. Without saying a word to me, they made me get up and took me to a nearby room: there they informed me that the baby was dead. I don't remember a psychologist being present, nor that they gave me a more in-depth explanation. They certainly didn't tell me how it happened. At that point I no longer understood anything, everything collapsed on me ”. So far the story of the woman who asks to know if there are any responsibilities of her, flanked by her 36-year-old partner and her lawyer Alessandro Palombi.

THE INVESTIGATION – The young mother and her partner have not yet been heard by the magistrates who have opened a file against unknown persons for manslaughter and are investigating any responsibility of the health facility in the death by suffocation. The Pertini hospital has not taken a position, providing all the necessary documentation. “There is an investigation underway, we cannot add anything – explained the medical director Giuseppe Gambale -. We have made available to those who investigate all the information in our possession”. But there are behavioral guidelines that new mothers subscribe to and the application of which helps reduce cot mortality.

THE LOCATION, THE TIMELINE – Many doubts remain to be clarified on the matter. First of all, the one on the position in which the now lifeless child was on the morning of 8 January. The versions are conflicting. The newborn - according to some witnesses - would have been cyanotic, under the mother. Instead, one of them claimed that the little body was on the side of the woman. A decisive detail: in the first case the baby would have died crushed by the body of the sleeping mother exhausted after breastfeeding and without anyone noticing the thing. The second would be  death from natural causes. The timing is also important: that is, how much time has passed between the moment in which the baby was taken to the room to be breastfed and the moment in which he was found dead. The protocols signed by Pertini's patients would prohibit breastfeeding in bed and the staff should stay until the end to put the baby back in its cradle. Sharing the parents' bed, the protocols read, 'is not the safest choice and can lead to an increased risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome, ed ) in the first months”