x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

German gynaecologist denies causing paralysis to newborn baby, Dubai court hears

Prosecutors claim the gynaecologist failed to follow suitable precautions during the birth of the girl, who weighed 4.77kg when she was born.

DUBAI // A gynaecologist who delivered a large baby through a natural delivery rather than casearian has denied her negligence caused paralysis to one of the child's arms.

Prosecutors claim AF, 50, from Germany, failed to follow suitable precautions during the birth of the girl, who weighed 4.77kg when she was born.

The large size of the baby meant the doctor was required to pull it by the shoulder to get it free. Prosecutors say this pulling caused a subsequent paralysis in the girl's arm, though the doctor denied this, saying the condition may have been from before birth.

The mother SP, 39, from Switzerland, went into labour on September 8, 2009, and headed to the International Modern Hospital.

"I was admitted to the delivery room and inside I was told that the baby was very big," said the mother.

She recalled the doctor screaming at her inside the delivery room, yelling that she hated big babies.

She gave birth naturally, but during delivery the doctor had to pull at the baby's shoulder to free it.

"I didn't know that our newly born baby girl suffered from anything but about six hours after the delivery, the nurse came to me and told me that my baby doesn't move her left arm at all," said the mother.

"She also told me that the reason was that the baby was pulled out of me strongly."

When the mother inspected her baby she noticed its shoulder was twisted and she visited the doctor to complain. She was told the baby's condition would improve in a week and that within three months she would be normal.

When the baby's condition did not improve the parents took the baby to another hospital and were informed the condition could only be fixed through a surgery that is not available in the UAE.

The couple flew to France where the baby underwent the surgery on December 16, 2009.

When the couple returned to the UAE, they headed to the hospital to claim financial aid to cover the large amount they had spent on treating the baby abroad.

"They rejected our claim and said they were not responsible for the baby's condition so we went to the Dubai Health Authority on August 9 of 2010 and filed a complaint," said the mother.

A report issued by the Dubai Health Authority dated April 4 2011 said that the hospital and the doctor were guilty of medical negligence in the management of the pregnancy and the birth of the girl.

The Misdemeanours Court charged the doctor with negligence, which she denied.

"I saved the baby's life," she testified.

"About six weeks before the delivery, I suggested an early delivery to the mother due to the baby's weight and also suggested a c-section but she refused.

"During delivery, the mother stopped pushing after the baby's head came out. This is considered very dangerous as it may cause brain damage especially because the umbilical cord was surrounding the neck, therefore I had to pull the baby from one shoulder then the other."

She said this pulling did not damage the baby's shoulder and that the damage may have been there before the baby was born.

"Her claims are baseless, I didn't say I hated large babies," added the doctor.

She said she learnt of the baby's condition the next day and that the hospital provided all necessary help to the couple and referred them to a hospital where there was a specialist.

A verdict is expected on August 20.

salamir@thenational.ae