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April 17, 2014

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Police: Reno baby declared dead twice in same day

Updated Friday, Feb. 21, 2014 | 2:06 p.m.

RENO — Reno police have launched an investigation into an unusual case involving a baby who was pronounced dead twice in the same day at the same hospital — five hours apart.

Investigators say the 8-month-old infant was first pronounced dead at 11:39 a.m. Thursday at Renown Regional Medical Center after the father brought the baby unconscious to medical officials. Once declared dead, the body of the infant was then taken to the Washoe County Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy at 12:40 p.m. There, about 10 minutes later, employees believed they heard the infant breathe and began life-saving efforts, according to Dr. Ellen Clark, chief medical examiner for the county.

The infant was returned by ambulance to Renown after she initially responded, investigators said, but she was declared dead a second time at 4:37 p.m.

Reno police Lt. William Rulla said Friday it's the first such incident involving an infant he's encountered in his 18 years as an officer.

Clark issued a statement Friday saying "seemingly deceased persons are sometimes resuscitated. It's one of the miracles of modern medicine."

"For this child, if there was any potential for survival, the normal response would be to do exactly what the medical examiner's staff did," Clark said. "They rendered aid when the baby appeared to breathe. Our hearts go out to the family of this baby, as well as to the men and women who worked diligently to try and save this child."

Renown spokeswoman Angela Rambo said she could not discuss the case because of federal privacy regulations. She was unsure whether an internal review would be conducted.

Rulla said an autopsy would be conducted, and he and other detectives would meet next week to review the status of the investigation.

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