A medical tribunal in Dundee, Scotland found a gynecologist responsible for the death of an unborn baby who became accidentally decapitated during birth. It was found that Dr. Vaishnavy Laxman should've performed a different procedure during the breech birth instead of attempting to deliver the baby.
Laxman was found responsible for the death of the baby.
Baby Decapitated During Birth
Dr. Laxman was delivering the baby of a 30-year-old woman when she accidentally contributed to the baby's decapitation by performing the wrong delivery technique. The baby was experiencing a breech birth, which is when the baby's feet go out first, instead of the head, during delivery.
Dr. Laxman told the woman to push while she tried to pull the baby by the legs. During her attempt to pull the baby out of the womb, the head became detached from its body. After the death of the baby, two other doctors removed the head from the womb by performing a cesarean section. The baby's head was attached to the body again so that the mother could hold the baby.
The medical tribunal trying Dr. Laxman says that the baby was already dead by the time the delivery was attempted in March 2014. Dr. Laxman believes that the baby would've died if she performed an emergency c-section during the birth. The tribunal says that it was Dr. Laxman's decision-making that caused the decapitation of the baby.
Dr. Laxman had been at the end of a 24-hour split shift in the maternity wing when she was called on to perform the delivery that decapitated the baby.
What Is Breech Birth?
As birth draws closer, babies in the womb move into delivery position weeks before the birth occurs. The head moves closer to the birth canal--when this doesn't happen and the feet and butt are set to come out first it is called breech presentation. Breech births happen in 1 out of 25 full-term births.
The exact cause of breech births isn't known but there is data that shows when it is more common. It can be more common in following pregnancies, pregnancies with multiple children, when the woman has a history of premature delivery, when the uterus has too much or too little amniotic fluid, an abnormally shaped uterus or a uterus with abnormal growths, and when women have a condition in which the placenta covers the uterus called placenta previa.
Breech births can be diagnosed before the due date. Healthcare professionals attempt to locate a baby's head, back, and butt by touching the mother's lower abdomen. An ultrasound is then used to confirm the breech position.
There are three types of breech positions. The complete breech birth occurs when the legs are folded and the feet are near the baby's butt. A Frank breech occurs when the baby's legs are sticking straight up in front of its body and the feet are near the head. A footling breech occurs when one or both of the baby's feet are delivered out of the body first.