Scottish doctor who caused baby's 'decapitation' during birth keeps job

A tribunal declared the incident did not amount to serious misconduct.
A tribunal declared the incident did not amount to serious misconduct. Photo credit: Getty

Warning: This article contains details that may disturb some readers.

A doctor whose actions appear to have caused the decapitation of a baby inside its mother's womb has been allowed to continue working. 

Dr Vaishnavy Vilvanathan Laxman has been cleared of misconduct and is allowed to return to work, The Independent reports, after she mistakenly proceeded with a regular delivery of a baby that should have been a caesarean. 

Dr Laxman was delivering the baby of a woman, 30, at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, Scotland, in March 2014. The woman, who was 25 weeks pregnant, should have had a caesarean section as the baby was in the breech position, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service said. 

The baby was said to have had a prolapsed cord and low heart-rate, and the mother's cervix was less than 4cm dilated - all of which should have indicated to the doctor that a caesarean was required, the tribunal said. 

The baby's head became trapped during the birth, The Independent reports, and a range of techniques were used to try and free it, but the baby's head "became detached from his body" and it died in the process. 

Despite the tragic death of the baby, the tribunal cleared Dr Laxman on Tuesday of serious misconduct and decided she was still fit to practise her job. 

The tribunal said her decision to go ahead with a natural birth was "negligent and fell below the standards ordinarily to be expected", though her actions weren't serious enough to amount to serious misconduct. 

"The tribunal is satisfied that Dr Vilvanathan Laxman has expressed genuine and appropriate remorse for what happened.

"She candidly accepted responsibility as the consultant in charge in theatre that day.". 


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