Ninewells Hospital baby tribunal: Doctor ‘distraught’ after tragedy in delivery room

© Cavendish Press / DC ThomsonDr Vaishnavy Laxman.
Dr Vaishnavy Laxman.

A Ninewells Hospital gynaecologist accused of causing an unborn baby to be accidentally decapitated inside her mother’s womb has broken down in tears at a disciplinary tribunal, saying she is “distraught” at the tragic events.

Dr Vaishnavy Laxman, 43, who had been nearing the end of a 24-hour shift on a maternity unit, should have given the 30-year old patient an emergency Caesarean section as the premature infant was in a breech position.

But she instead attempted to carry out the delivery naturally and tragedy struck when a manoeuvre caused the infant’s legs, arms and torso to become detached.

At the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester, consultant Ms Laxman wept as she relived the procedure. She also said the youngster would have died had a C-section been carried out.

She said: ”I was trying to deliver a live baby, I was trying really hard, possibly too hard. I did not intend to harm mum or the baby. I am distraught at the outcome and I am very sorry it did not come out the way I meant it.”

The tragedy occurred on March 16 2014.

Ms Laxman had started work at 8.30am the previous day and went home at 6pm for five hours before returning to the hospital at 11pm. She was told about the patient at 2am and was subsequently paged at 8.30am to take a look at her when her condition became more critical.

In harrowing evidence, she told the tribunal: “’I remember thinking should I try to deliver this baby. I still believe we had a very good chance of having the baby using other options than a C-section but we had to act fast.

”I thought with a C-section we might not have a live baby and it would have been a difficult procedure.”

Medical tribunal hears baby’s head was pulled off in womb during tragic botched delivery at Ninewells Hospital

Ms Laxman described how the cervix started to “clamp” on the baby’s head. As the mother became more distressed she was given a general anaesthetic.

Ms Laxman continued: “…at some point between the general anaesthetic and the decapitation, the baby died – I’m not sure when.”


Under cross examination she said: ”The baby’s body and bottom was delivered without an issue but when trying to deliver the head, the cervix just clamped on the neck after the body had been delivered. I’ve never had this happen before.”

She added: “‘I wanted to do what was best for Patient A and the baby and give the baby the best possible chance of survival.

“The C-section would have been technically difficult and we didn’t have much time.”

Ms Laxman denies misconduct.

The hearing continues.

For more, see The Courier on Wednesday