Blundering medic 'sliced baby's neck with scissors' during botched delivery at Ninewells maternity unit

Posted On:   15 June 2018

Dundee, Scotland – 11th May, 2018: A blundering medic sliced a baby's neck with scissors during a botched delivery and ignored the mother's pleas to stop, a tribunal has heard.

Dr Vaishnavy Vilvanathan Laxman is said to have failed to provide pain relief to the woman giving birth and wrongly pressed ahead with a vaginal labor despite a number of complications which meant a caesarean delivery would have been safer. The baby boy died during childbirth.

Dr Laxman, an obstetrician at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, was suspended by NHS Tayside in the wake of the tragedy on March 16 2014.

A Medical Practitioners Tribunal held in Manchester heard that she allegedly proceeded with a vaginal delivery despite the patient's cervix being "no more than four centimetres dilated".

It has been claimed that Dr Laxman failed to obtain consent for this from the mother and the hearing was told that the baby was in the breech position, had abnormally low foetal heart rate and had a prolapsed umbilical cord - meaning that there was a risk the infant would become tangled in it during delivery.

It is also alleged that Dr Laxman, who is originally from India, asked the mother to push when she was "not in established labour" and "undertook one or more incisions of the cervix without due care".

When it became clear that the baby had died, Dr Laxman allegedly failed to provide adequate pain relief to the mother when she began making surgical cuts into the cervix in order to extract the infant.

Papers submitted to the hearing told how she allegedly did not provide local anesthesia "prior to making one or more incisions to her cervix", delayed general anesthesia and "failed to acknowledge [the mother's] requests to stop".

It is further alleged that Dr Laxman "cut [the baby's] neck with scissors" as she attempted to cut into the mother's cervix.

The tribunal will also consider the claim that Dr Laxman ignored challenges from colleagues that she should deliver the baby by caesarean section and warnings from one doctor that the infant's neck was being stretched.

The hearing is expected to continue until June 5.

Dr Laxman is currently banned from private practice or working without supervision in any obstetrics post, including all types of delivery. Conditions placed on her registration mean she is only allowed to work unsupervised in NHS gynecology on pregnancies up to 16 weeks.

The Crown Office previously ruled out criminal charges or a Fatal Accident Inquiry in the case but it is understood that the mother, who was reportedly left "devastated and traumatized" by the experience, is suing NHS Tayside for damages in relation to alleged medical negligence.

The mother has not been named.

Meanwhile, a prison doctor is facing potential sanctions after he admitted to breaking rules when handing out opoid-based painkillers.

Dr Michael Blackmore, a GP at HMP Glenochil in Clackmannanshire, admitted inappropriately administering co-codamol to a prisoner in April 2016, storing the tablet in a drawer instead of a locked cabinet, and giving co-codamol from the prison's supply to a visitor who was not his patient.

Dr Blackmore also admitted to carrying out a physical search for drugs on another prisoner which was in breach of prison policy and outside of his duties as GP.

He also admitted to being absent from the prison without permission for nearly five hours on June 22 2016, and then lying about his whereabouts.

The tribunal heard that he falsely claimed to be attending a hospital appointment for post-vasectomy pain, but subsequently admitted this was untrue.