London: An Indian- origin gynaecologist in the NHS who was found guilty of medical misconduct by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS), after an unborn baby was accidentally decapitated in the womb of her patient during delivery has not gotten relief. The tribunal has now ruled her clear of misconduct adding that she can return to work.
The case goes back to March 2014, when Dr Vaishnavy Laxman, 43 oversaw the botched delivery of a 25 weeks pregnant patient in the maternity unit at Ninewells hospital in Dundee. The patient, who was delivering a premature infant in a breech position, underwent natural labour instead of a caesarean section.
During the delivery, Dr Laxman told the patient to push while she applied traction to the premature baby’s legs. The manoeuvre caused the infant’s legs, arms and torso to become detached, leaving the head still in his mother’s womb.
Subsequently, two other doctors carried out a C-section on the woman to remove the infant’s head. It was re-attached to his body so his mother could hold him before she said goodbye.
The case was presented before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, who after hearing the case found the doctor guilty of medical misconduct by saying, ““The tribunal found that the breech extraction and consequent use of traction was necessitated by Dr Laxman’s earlier decision to proceed with a vaginal delivery and which is the subject of the tribunal’s finding….. Laxman’s conduct set in train a course of events which ultimately resulted in the decapitation of Baby B and to this extent contributed to that decapitation…. But for Laxman’s error of judgement in this regard, the decapitation would not have occurred.”
Mr Tim Bradbury, chairing the tribunal added that Dr Laxman had not “sufficiently addressed in her mind the risk to Baby B by proceeding with a vaginal delivery – namely the risk of head entrapment and the delay this complication would inevitably cause”.
Last month consultant Laxman, who denied misconduct in her defence statedsaid the baby would have died had a C-section been carried out during the procedure on March 16, 2014, reports The Sun.
She told the MPTS in Manchester: “I was trying to deliver a live baby, I was trying really hard, possibly too hard….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.”
Dr Laxman stated that she had started work at 8.30am the previous day and had been working for 24 hours that day.
Further, while discussing the method of delivery, Sun quotes the doctor as stating: ”We are not doing a c-section – you would never do a c-section of a 25 weeker.”
The MTPS panel has now observed that the child was already dead before he was decapitated during the bungled 15-minute delivery. On Tuesday, the tribunal cleared Dr Laxman of serious misconduct and said her fitness to practise was not impaired. It ruled the decision to proceed with a natural birth was ‘negligent and fell below the standards ordinarily to be expected’ but did not amount to serious misconduct, reports Metro.
The panel’s written decision said: ‘The failing which the tribunal has found proved was not sustained, persistent or repeated, but rather a single error of judgement made in very difficult circumstances. ‘The tribunal was satisfied that throughout the attempted delivery of baby B, Dr Laxman believed that she was acting in both patient A’s and baby B’s best interests and that she genuinely believed that proceeding with a vaginal delivery was the optimum course to take in the circumstances which existed at the time.’