Scots doctor who caused decapitation of baby to return to work

NHS Tayside's Ninewells Hospital where the tragedy took place. Picture: Ken Whitcombe/CC
NHS Tayside's Ninewells Hospital where the tragedy took place. Picture: Ken Whitcombe/CC

A senior NHS gynaecologist who caused an unborn baby to be accidentally decapitated inside her mother’s womb will be allowed to return to work

Dr Vaishnavy Laxman, 43, was found guilty yesterday of several charges by a disciplinary panel which said she made ‘’an error of judgement’’ which ‘’ultimately led to and contributed to’’ the tragedy.

Laxman, 43, should have given the 30-year old patient an emergency Caesarean section as the premature infant was in a breech position.

But she instead attempted to carry out the delivery naturally and tragedy struck when the doctor urged the patient to push whilst herself applying traction to the baby’s legs.

Laxman is still undergoing further hearings to establish whether her fitness to practise was ‘’impaired by reason of misconduct’’ at the time of the incident on March 16 2014 whilst Laxman was working at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

If the panel make that finding, she could then face a range of sanctions including being struck off. Until then she will be able to return to work.

The case was due to reconvene today for further legal submissions and deliberations.

READ MORE: Doctor caused Scots baby to be decapitated in womb during delivery, inquiry told

Consultant Laxman who qualified in Chennai, India, denied wrongdoing saying she believed the baby would have died had a caesarean section been carried out.

But at the finding of facts hearing on Monday panel chairman Tim Bradbury said: “It was Dr Laxman’s decision in this regard that was to dictate her subsequent actions and the course of events which ultimately led to Baby B being decapitated.

“The Tribunal was in no doubt that throughout her involvement in the attempted delivery of Baby B, she was endeavouring to achieve the best outcome for Patient A and Baby B.

“However the central issue in this case is whether Dr Laxman’s decision to attempt a vaginal delivery of Baby B rather than an immediate caesarean section under general anaesthetic was clinically indicated or whether the only proper course in the circumstances would have been to proceed to an immediate caesarean section.

“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.

“Further, the Tribunal found that she embarked upon a vaginal delivery without a proper basis for concluding that a delivery was imminent or that there were any characteristics present that might be regarded as favourable to a vaginal delivery.”

The tribunal added: “Her 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 Dr Laxman’s error of judgement in this regard, the decapitation would not have occurred.”