Mum’s shock as baby born with no face
A PORTUGESE doctor has been suspended after a baby boy was born without a face.
Devastated parents Marlene Simao and David Ribeiro were unaware their son Rodrigo had several facial birth defects, despite obstetrician Artur Carvalho performing multiple ultrasound scans.
Rodrigo's parents were told he would only survive a few hours because of his abnormalities, but more than two weeks on, he is still alive under care at Sao Bernardo Hospital in Setubal, which is 40km south of Lisbon.
Marlene and David, who were named today by the Daily Mail, had three ultrasound scans at the private clinic where Carvalho worked and say he raised no concerns about the health of the baby, according to local media reports.
It was only when Marlene had a fourth scan, a more detailed 5D ultrasound at a different clinic while six months pregnant, that the possibility of abnormalities was raised.
However, Dr Carvalho - who according to the BBC has had multiple other complaints made against him, dating back to 2013 - allegedly dismissed the 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.
Following Rodrigo's birth, the family complained to the Portuguese Prosecutors Office, which has now opened a case into Dr Carvalho, voting to suspend the doctor over allegations of negligence.
While Dr Carvalho is being investigated, the family is now preparing for the inevitable loss of their baby.
On Facebook, David shared a photo of himself passing the adorned bub into his doting mothers arms with a strategically placed baby emoji over little Rodrigo's face. He captioned the touching image with a crown and love heart emoji, proving just how devastating a situation their family is in.
Friends and family have drowned the photo with love and support, telling the parents to "stay strong".
"There's lot of strength in this very difficult photo," one said.
"Your boy who is a true warrior and fighter. A big kiss from the bottom of the heart," another said.
"Love overcomes everything!! Love, of parents is unique..... have strength and courage!!" one added.
Marlene also shared a photo of their newborn without revealing the extent of his injuries, showing the mum and bubs hands entwined.
"May God give you strength to face this battle," one friend wrote underneath.
While another said: "No mother should go through such pain."
The couple's plight has outraged much of Portugal since details of other complaints against Dr Carvalho came to light, including one from the mother of a baby born in 2011 with a facial disfigurement, deformed legs and severe brain damage.
Laura Afonso claims she had submitted a criminal complaint against Dr Carvalho, only for a prosecutor to dismiss it, according to a report in Portuguese newspaper Publico.
Now aged eight, her child has had multiple operations but still cannot speak or walk, she said.
Miguel Guimarães, president of Portugal's medical association Ordem dos Medicos, gave a press conference last week where he said he had directly contacted Dr Carvalho because of the "social alarm" that had sparked a national scandal.
Dr Carvalho has been suspended for six months while investigations continue.