Ordem dos Médicos

“Baby without a face”: doctor permanently struck off

Artur Carvalho had string of complaints against him dating back years

Artur Carvalho, the obstetrician who ‘hit the headlines’ in 2019 after a baby was born ‘without a face’ in spite of three routine ultrasound scans, has finally been officially struck off.

The case that ricocheted around the world did nothing for Portugal’s reputation as a country with reliable medical care. Little Rodrigo – the boy born without eyes, nose and missing a part of his cranium  – would not live for more than a few hours, said doctors who delivered him.

Today, he is a three year old who has had his first grown-up haircut.

And notwithstanding that his family dote on him, they had no idea the little boy would be so handicapped. Every antenatal appointment saw Artur Carvalho tell them ‘everything was normal’.

The case was not, it transpired, an isolated incident. There had been other complaints; other children with deformities their parents were never warned about.

Artur Carvalho ‘retired’ in the brouhaha, having been suspended from practising following an official complaint by Rodrigo’s parents.

A criminal complaint was also lodged, but has since been archived on the basis that there was no evidence that Artur Carvalho had practiced a ‘crime’.

Says SIC television news: “Setúbal court understood that the doctor was not responsible for the baby’s malformations, and that they could not have been avoided. They considered that at issue had simply been the right to choose not to have the birth, had the parents been informed of the (baby’s) health problems”.

According to Público today, the former obstetrician has now been formally accused of violating his professional duties, and prohibited from exercising his profession from today, March 1, 2023.

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