Four babies die within two hours at South Korean hospital

Forensic Service to Conduct Autopsies on 4 Infants

Health authorities are looking into the possibility that three of the four infants who died over a two-hour span on Saturday at a university hospital in Seoul suffered bacterial infection.

Today, the National Forensic Service is due to conduct post-mortems on the babies' bodies to determine the exact causes of their deaths.

The newborns died one by one between 9:31 p.m. and 10:53 p.m. on Saturday, a hospital official said during a press conference Sunday.

Although KCDC said it would reach a conclusive report after Wednesday, it suspects gram-negative bacteria to be a possible cause based on the latest findings from blood culture tests, reports said. The results are to take at least a week to be released, and a month to be finalized.

The babies in the incubators had swollen stomachs and had shown difficulty in breathing, the babies' family members told the police, according to the newspaper.

Staff performed CPR but efforts to revive the babies were unsuccessful, a hospital official said. They were among 16 babies in the neonatal intensive care ward at the hospital.

Police have been searching the hospital. Kim said the cause of the deaths can not be identified until the inspection results come out. "I don't know what to say to the parents of these babies", Lee said during a meeting with senior aides.

He also instructed officials to take steps to prevent similar incidents from recurring.

In September, the hospital came under fire over IV fluid containing an insect given to a 5-month-old baby for more than 14 hours.

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