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Outrage as medical tribunal clears Dr Vaishnavy Laxman of misconduct

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BRITISH citizens have reacted with disgust and anger after a doctor who inadvertently caused an unborn baby to be decapitated inside his mother’s womb was cleared to return to work.

Dr Vaishnavy Vilvanathan Laxman, a consultant gynaecologist, was working at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, Scotland in March 2014 when the tragedy occurred.

She was immediately suspended following the incident, and in recent weeks has faced a medical tribunal as her career hung in the balance.

But while the 43-year-old was found “culpable” of medical failures earlier this week, she has now been cleared of misconduct after an expert panel found the baby’s death was the result of “a single error of judgment made in very difficult circumstances”.

The shock decision means the doctor is free to deliver babies immediately.

Dr Laxman was nearing the end of a 24-hour shift when a 30-year-old first time expectant mother arrived at the hospital’s maternity unit after her waters broke just 25 weeks into the pregnancy.

The baby was in the breech position and had a prolapsed cord, while the mother’s cervix was less than four centimetres dilated.

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester previously heard that Dr Laxman should have given the patient an emergency C-section, given those serious complications.

However, she insisted on a natural birth, urging the mother to push while she applied traction to the baby’s leg, which caused the decapitation.

The tribunal heard the baby had already died before the decapitation occurred.

The infant’s head then had to be removed via Caesarian and it was reattached to the child’s torso before the grieving mum was allowed to see her deceased son.

Dr Laxman earlier sobbed as she told the hearing the death had been an accident.

“I was trying to deliver a live baby, I was trying really hard, possibly too hard,” she tearfully told the hearing, according to The Sun.

“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 grieving mother also previously spoke at the tribunal, clutching teddy bears as she faced Dr Laxman and repeated: “I don’t forgive you — I don’t forgive you.”

The tribunal’s decision to clear Dr Laxman of misconduct and allow her to return to work has sparked widespread outrage across the United Kingdom, with shocked social media users taking to Twitter to argue the tragedy should have ended Dr Laxman’s career forever.

But while the tribunal ruled Dr Laxman’s decision to proceed with a natural birth was “negligent”, it also stated it was “a single error of judgment made in very difficult circumstances”.

“The tribunal was satisfied that throughout the attempted delivery of baby B, Dr Vilvanathan Laxman believed that she was acting in both patient A’s and baby B’s best interests, and that she genuinely believed that proceeding with a vaginal delivery was the optimum course to take in the circumstances which existed at the time”, The Independent reported the tribunal as ruling.

“The tribunal is satisfied that Dr Vilvanathan Laxman has expressed genuine and appropriate remorse for what happened, and she candidly accepted responsibility as the consultant in charge in theatre that day.

“Further, at no point has Dr Vilvanathan Laxman sought to blame others for what happened or to minimise her actions.”

Dr Laxman will not receive a formal warning and her suspension has been revoked, as the panel did not believe she posed a risk to other patients.

“Dr Vilvanathan Laxman’s wrong decision related to an isolated, single incident in an otherwise unblemished career,” the panel stated.

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