Oakland A’s pitcher Pat Neshek, and his wife, experienced the loss of their newborn son, Gehrig John Neshek, less than 24 hours after the seemingly healthy baby was born weighing 8-pound and 5-ounce.
Neshek said on Twitter Wednesday night, "Please pray for my family . . . Tonight my wife and I lost our first and only son 23 hours after he was born with no explanation."
"This happens sometimes," Dr. Edward Bell, professor of pediatrics and director of neonatology at the University of Iowa, who is not involved with this case, told ABC News. "Fortunately, it's very rare."
"I don't know the circumstances, but it's pretty unusual to find a baby dead in the bassinette in the hospital because usually the parents or the nurse notice something and the baby gets transferred to intensive care," Bell said. "I don't know if anything like that happened in this case."
"It's going to be important to have an inquiry into what may have precipitated the event," he said. "That may be very helpful for the parents if they are looking for answers -- if not spare them the heartbreak. But at least it will give them some idea of why it happened."
While details of the death were not immediately available, it is still unclear if the Neshek’s newborn passed in the hospital, where babies are usually kept for 24 hours or at their home after an early release.
According to Bell, the first step in getting answers will be to "look back and find clues."
"They will start with the where and when and how did it happen – what was going on. Was the baby at home or at the hospital? What happened just before he died."
"There are a lot of things that can threaten the life of a newborn, including birth defects, infection, genetic disease and even unfortunate things like accidents and suffocation," he told the news wire.
ABC, which cites an additional doctor not involved in the case, reports that as some cases occur where babies can be discharged and sent home early, hospitals generally prefer not to send the baby home before 24 hours because of these types of cases.
"It's hard to know anything without more information," Dr. Ian Holzman, chief of neonatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, told the news outlet. "We need to know where the baby was found dead. Babies can have obstructed airways feeding or being put down wrong way."
"Of course, we don't want to blame the parents," he said. "It's horrible what the parents are going through."
Neshek, 32, had been given permission from the A’s organizations to leave the team and attend the birth. He has been a Major League pitcher since 2006.
"Our hearts go out to Pat and Stephanee and we share in their sorrow of losing their young son," the A's told the Associated Press. "The entire A's organization will keep the Neshek family in our prayers and thoughts, as they try to come to grips with this tragic occurrence in their lives."
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