Doctor tells of horrific moment she saw baby’s neck stretching before it was decapitated as she three times warned senior gynaecologist to ‘be careful’
- Dr Yeswanthini Bhushan said she was haunted by the ‘catastrophe’ years later
- Said she saw Dr Vaishnavy Laxman trying to deliver baby in labour theatre
- Told how removing head was ‘most horrific experience anybody could have’
- Dr Laxman denies contributing to the baby’s death, at hearing in Manchester
Consultant gynaecologist Dr Vaishnavy Laxman, 41, at her Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearing in Manchester
A medic today described the horrific moment a baby’s neck was stretched before he was decapitated – and said she is still ‘haunted’ by the awful sight
Dr Yeswanthini Bhushan claimed she warned consultant gynaecologist Dr Vaishnavy Laxman to be careful ‘at least three to four times’ during the delivery at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.
Dr Bhushan told the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearing in Manchester that she had been haunted by the ‘catastrophe’ years later.
She told how she saw Dr Laxman in the labour theatre trying to deliver the baby, despite his mother only being 2cm (0.8in) to 3cm (1.2in) dilated.
According to The Sun, Dr Bhushan said: ‘I knew that this baby was extremely fragile. That the baby had significant bruising and that the neck was stretched. I told others to be careful.’
She said that removing the baby’s head from his mother’s uterus was ‘the most horrific experience anybody could have and it has haunted me so much’.
Yesterday, the tribunal heard that the baby died when he suffered appalling injuries during the bungled delivery.
It happened because Dr Laxman, 41, wrongly decided against performing a caesarean section when the unborn child’s heartbeat dropped, it is alleged.
The botched delivery took place on March 16, 2014 at Ninewells Hospital (pictured) in Dundee
Instead, Dr Laxman 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, 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.’
Dr Laxman, pictured yesterday outside the tribunal, tried to pull the baby out by his legs
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.
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.’
The hearing continues.
WHAT IS A BREECH BIRTH AND WHAT ARE THE GUIDELINES?
Babies often twist and turn during pregnancy, but most will have moved into the head-down (also known as head-first) position by the time labour begins.
However, that doesn’t always happen and a baby may end up bottom first or feet first, which is known as the breech position.
If a baby is in a breech position at 36 weeks, mothers are usually be offered an external cephalic version (ECV).
This is when a healthcare professional, such as an obstetrician, tries to turn the baby into a head-down position by applying pressure to the abdomen.
It’s a safe procedure, although it can be a bit uncomfortable. Around 50 per cent of breech babies can be turned using ECV, allowing a vaginal birth.
If an ECV doesn’t work, women need to discuss their options for a vaginal birth or caesarean section with a midwife and obstetrician.
If doctors agree on a caesarean and then the woman goes into labour before the operation, an obstetrician will assess whether it’s safe to proceed with the caesarean delivery.
If the baby is close to being born, it is often safer to have a vaginal birth.
Official medical guidelines advise against a vaginal breech birth if the baby’s feet are below its bottom, the baby is smaller or larger than average, the mother has low-lying placenta or suffers from pre-eclampsia.
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