A Portuguese obstetrician has been suspended after a baby was born without a nose, eyes or part of his skull.
The parents of baby Rodrigo had not been aware of their son’s severe physical abnormalities until he was born earlier this month. Medical council officials have voted to suspend Dr Artur Carvalho over allegations of negligence.
It has emerged that other complaints, dating back more than a decade, have been made involving other babies. Reports of those cases, detailed by Portuguese media, have provoked widespread outrage. BBC said Dr Carvalho has not commented publicly on any of the allegations and it has been unable to reach him directly as at press time.
Rodrigo was born on 7 October at São Bernardo Hospital in Setúbal, about 40km (23 miles) south of Lisbon. His parents had been under Dr Carvalho’s care for three ultrasound scans throughout their pregnancy at a private clinic and say he raised no concerns about the foetus’s health.
The mother then reportedly had a fourth, more detailed, 5D ultrasound at a different clinic while six months pregnant. During that scan the possibility of abnormalities was raised, only for Dr Carvalho to allegedly dismiss concerns.
“He explained that sometimes some parts of the face are not visible (on ultrasounds)… when the baby’s face is glued to the belly of the mother,” Rodrigo’s aunt was quoted by AFP as telling a local broadcaster. After Rodrigo’s birth and his abnormalities became clear, his parents were reportedly told he would only survive for hours.