Two babies die on same day at Lisbon’s trouble-torn Alfredo da Costa maternity hospital

The Lisbon maternity hospital that narrowly escaped closure in the name of austerity last year is back in the limelight this week for the worst possible reasons. Two babies allegedly died in separate incidents at Maternidade Alfredo da Costa (MAC). The deaths have prompted both sets of parents to lodge complaints over negligence. The hospital has opened an internal inquiry, stressing “rules of good practice” were followed.

The first death involved a baby whose 20-year-old mother allegedly requested a Caesarean section, but was told she was too young for the procedure. Her baby was delivered with the use of forceps and ventouse extraction, and died shortly afterwards.

Alda Forbs claims her son’s head was crushed.

The family are now awaiting the results of an autopsy but have already filed their complaint over medical negligence in the hospital’s complaints book, at the PJ police and with the Ordem dos Médicos, reports Correio da Manhã.

At almost the same time that Alda Forbs’ baby was being delivered, 27-year-old Carla Silva arrived in casualty in her 34th week of pregnancy having suffered “strong pains” after being sent home from the hospital the day before.

By the time an examination had been set up, doctors were unable to hear Carla Silva’s baby’s heartbeat and informed her that her unborn child had died.

Carla Silva and her partner are claiming “negligence due to lack of assistance”.

MAC’s hospital director Teresa Sustelo said the hospital laments both incidents but that the second relates to a foetus that was “dead on admission”.

MAC’s inquiry into the death of Alda Forbs’ baby is ongoing.

Meantime, the fate of MAC hangs in the balance. Last year, Lisbon’s administrative court foiled a bid by the health ministry to shut the hospital down to save money, much to the delight of many supporters, doctors and care workers. The health ministry has since lodged an appeal with the administrative tribunal of the south, and is awaiting a decision.

[email protected]