Doctors say a premature baby girl who survived six hours in a hospital morgue refrigerator after being declared stillborn has died despite efforts to save her.

The baby had been delivered in the 23rd week of pregnancy at a weight of just one pound, five ounces and was initially declared dead and placed in the morgue.

When the parents came to collect the tiny body for burial on Monday they found the baby breathing and showing a faint heartbeat and she was rushed to the intensive care unit.

Hospital deputy director Moshe Daniel said the child died early Tuesday. He told Army Radio the specific cause of death would only be known after a post-mortem examination.