A Portuguese doctor has been suspended by the country’s medical council after a baby born in his care did not have eyes, nose or part of his skull.
According to the parents, Dr. Artur Carvalho never mentioned seeing any abnormalities during the three ultrasound scans he performed during the pregnancy, the BBC reported. Nor during a fourth, 5D ultrasound during the sixth month of pregnancy, when they allegedly specifically asked whether Carvalho could see any potential issues and he said no.
“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,” the baby’s aunt told a local broadcaster, AFP reported.
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But when their son Rodrigo was born on Oct. 7, he was missing part of his face. The parents submitted a complaint to the Portuguese Prosecutor’s Office, and the Portugal medical council, Ordem dos Medicos, voted to suspend Carvalho for six months while they investigate.
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Several other complaints against Carvalho have since come out, the BBC reported, including one from 2011 of a baby born with severe brain damage and leg and facial deformities. The child is now 8, according to Público, a daily newspaper in Portugal, and cannot walk or talk, despite undergoing multiple operations.
Rodrigo was only expected to live for a few hours, but he has made through over two weeks at the hospital.
Carvalho initially agreed to stop practicing while the Ordem dos Médicos investigated the latest complaint, but they later decided to suspend him for six months.
Alexandre Valentim Lourenco, the medical council chief for Portugal’s southern region told a local broadcaster that there is “strong evidence” that Carvalho did not properly care for his patients. He added that Carvalho’s suspension will hopefully “reassure” pregnant women now that he is no longer practicing.