Baby's horrific death in womb 'as doctor pulled legs in bungled delivery'
A baby died when he suffered appalling injuries in his mother’s womb during a bungled delivery, a medical tribunal heard.
It happened because the consultant gynaecologist in charge wrongly decided against performing a caesarean section when the unborn child’s heartbeat dropped, it is alleged.
Instead, Dr Vaishnavy Laxman, 41, tried to pull the baby out by his legs. Tragically, the boy’s head became stuck and he was decapitated as the doctor tried to manipulate it through the mother’s cervix.
Two other doctors at the NHS hospital subsequently carried out a caesarean to remove the infant’s head, which was ‘re-attached’ to his body so his mother could hold him and say goodbye. At a hearing of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, in Manchester, Dr Laxman denies contributing to the baby’s death. She faces being struck off if found guilty of serious professional misconduct.
In a charged encounter, the baby’s mother – referred to as Patient A – told Dr Laxman: ‘I don’t forgive you – I don’t forgive you.’
The doctor did not look at her and instead stared at the floor. Patient A looked away as Dr Laxman’s barrister apologised on her behalf. The tragedy happened on March 16, 2014, whilst Dr Laxman was working at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.
Charles Garside QC, for the General Medical Council, said the woman’s waters had broken 15 weeks early – at 25 weeks into her pregnancy. An examination revealed the umbilical cord was coming out of the womb ahead of the baby and he was also in a breech position – his feet were coming out first instead of his head. Staff realised the baby needed to be delivered quickly if he was to stand any chance of survival.
But despite the baby’s prematurity and position, Dr Laxman opted against a caesarean in favour of a natural delivery it was alleged.
Mr Garside said: ‘She failed to perform a caesarean without general anaesthetic at a time when speed was needed.’
Patient A, who gave evidence while holding two teddy bears, said it was her first pregnancy. ‘When I was taken to the labour suite nobody told me what was happening,’ she said. ‘I was told to push. I was in pain.
‘They twice tried to cut my cervix and nobody told me they were going to do it. There was no anaesthetic. I said to them, “It doesn’t feel right, stop it, I don’t want to do it”, but nobody responded.’