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Portuguese doctor suspended after a baby was born without a face

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.

According to BBC, Rodrigo was born on 7 October at São Bernardo Hospital in Setúbal, about 40km south of Lisbon. His mother had been under Dr Carvalho’s care for three ultrasound scans throughout her pregnancy at a private clinic and the parents say the doctor 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 news sources.

After Rodrigo’s birth and his abnormalities became clear, his parents were reportedly told he would only survive for hours.

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However, more than two weeks on, the boy is still alive under hospital care. His parents have reportedly submitted a complaint about Dr Carvalho to the Portuguese Prosecutors’ Office.

At least six medical complaints are currently open against him, dating back to 2013, according to health officials.
Other parents have come forward to share their personal stories with the Portuguese media of Dr Carvalho’s alleged failure to detect health issues in their own pregnancies.

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