Dr Vaishnavy Laxman could be struck off the medical register after a botched birth led to a baby’s decapitation. Picture: Cavendish
Dr Vaishnavy Laxman could be struck off the medical register after a botched birth led to a baby’s decapitation. Picture: Cavendish

Doctor’s excuse for decapitating baby

WARNING: Graphic and disturbing content

A DOCTOR whose career is on the line after she caused a baby to be decapitated during a complicated birth has told a tribunal she was trying "possibly too hard" to deliver the infant.

Dr Vaishnavy Laxman, a consultant gynaecologist, was working at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, Scotland in March 2014 when the tragedy occurred.

The 43-year-old, who risks being struck off the medical register over a series of poor decisions which led to the baby boy's horrific death, fronted a medical tribunal this week to plead her case.

She sobbed as she told the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester that the incident had occurred towards the end of a 24-hour shift on the maternity unit.

The hearing was told Dr Laxman should have given the 30-year-old first-time mother an emergency C-section, as the baby was breech and the baby was premature.

The mother's waters had broken at just 25 weeks and the baby also had a prolapsed cord, while the mother's cervix was only four centimetres dilated.

Instead, Dr Laxman chose a natural birth, and she urged the mother to push while she applied traction to the baby's leg, which caused the decapitation.

The infant's head had to be removed via Caesarian and it was reattached to the child's torso before the grieving mum was allowed to see her deceased son.

Despite the horrific outcome, Dr Laxman has denied misconduct.

"I was trying to deliver a live baby, I was trying really hard, possibly too hard," she tearfully told the hearing, according to The Sun.

"I did not intend to harm mum or the baby. I am distraught at the outcome and I am very sorry it did not come out the way I meant it."

She said she had abandoned the original plan for a C-section as she believed the baby might not survive the procedure.

The tragedy occurred at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, Scotland in March 2014. Picture: Alamy
The tragedy occurred at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, Scotland in March 2014. Picture: Alamy

"I thought with a C-section we might not have a live baby and it would have been a difficult procedure," she said.

"I still believe we had a very good chance of having the baby using other options than a C-section but we had to act fast.

"The bottom of the baby came out quite easily and when this happened I thought it was going to be possible."

Dr Laxman then urged the patient to push.

"Whilst she was pushing I applied some traction to the baby's feet so I could deliver the baby. She was doing well," she said.

"The arms were then delivered and I went to deliver the baby's head, I was trying to flex the baby's head but I didn't feel the baby move and the cervix started to close. I tried to deliver a couple of times and asked for help.

"But, at some point between the general anaesthetic and the decapitation, the baby died - I'm not sure when.

"I was told the neck was tearing and that's when I knew the baby had died.''

Dr Laxman was suspended following the baby's death, and her entire career now hangs in the balance.

The tribunal had heard earlier that the distressed pregnant woman was not given pain relief during the birth and her repeated pleas to medical staff to stop were ignored.

The unnamed patient previously spoke at the tribunal, staring down Dr Laxman and repeating: "I don't forgive you - I don't forgive you" while clutching stuffed teddy bears.

The hearing continues.


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