‘Negligent’ doctor suspended after baby born without a face

A doctor has been accused of negligence and suspended after a baby was born without a face.

The newborn was missing a nose, eyes and part of his skull after the birth earlier this month.

But the parents of Rodrigo, born in Portugal, did not know of his abnormalities before he was delivered.

Medical council officials have voted to suspend Dr Artur Carvalho over allegations of negligence.

It has since emerged that the same doctor has racked up other complaints, dating back more than a decade, involving other babies.

Reports of those cases, detailed by Portuguese media, have provoked widespread outrage.

Dr Carvalho has not commented publicly on any of the allegations.

Rodrigo was born on October 7 at São Bernardo Hospital in Setúbal, about 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, according to Portuguese media. They say he raised no concerns about the foetus's health.

However the mum then reportedly had a fourth 5D ultrasound at a different clinic while six months pregnant.

That scan raised the issue of possible abnormalities but Dr Carvalho dismissed 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.

But 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.

It has been reported that at least six medical complaints are currently open against him, dating back to 2013.

Other parents have come forward to share their personal stories with Portuguese media of Dr Carvalho's alleged failure to detect health issues in their own pregnancies.

In one case a baby was born in 2011 with a facial disfigurement, deformed legs and severe brain damage.

Mum Laura Afonso told Publico newspaper she had submitted a criminal complaint against the doctor only for a prosecutor to dismiss it.

Now eight, her child had had multiple surgeries but still could not speak or walk, she said.

In a different case linked to the same doctor the child died months after their 2007 birth. But it was also reportedly dismissed without reaching trial, Publico reports.

Miguel Guimarães, president of Portugal's medical association (Ordem dos Médicos), said he had directly contacted Dr Carvalho, given the "social alarm" caused by the case.

The doctor, he said, had agreed to stop performing procedures while investigations continued.

The body's disciplinary council then met earlier this week and unanimously agreed Dr Carvalho should be suspended for six months while investigations continued.

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