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Mother accuses doc of cutting newborn's ear during C-section

A mother, surnamed Chen, yesterday accused a physician from the Women and Children Clinic in Tainan of cutting her newborn daughter's ear while performing a Cesarean section.

According to Chen, the clinic's vice director had suggested that she stay at the clinic on Feb. 21 to hasten the childbirth, but the original due date for the birth was March 2.

When the vice director, surnamed Chuang, had performed the C-section, she accidentally cut the newborn's left ear, said Chen. However, Chuang denied having injured the baby.

Chuang claimed that she had suggested that Chen hasten her baby's birth on Feb. 19 as the baby was heavier than the standard weight and had a large head. “The mother's water broke on Feb. 20, but her cervix wasn't wide enough for the baby to be born naturally,” said Chuang.

Lin Bi-fen (林碧芬), deputy director of Tainan City's Department of Health, said that the baby's parents and the clinic will be settling the dispute on March 12.

Chuang's first suggestion was an augmentation, said Chen, who added that Chuang had performed a perineotomy when she felt the baby's head was too big. When the perineotomy failed to ease the baby out smoothly, the baby's pulse and breathing stopped for 10 minutes, and Chen's family was asked to sign their consent for Chuang to perform a C-section, said Chen.

“But when my daughter was born, she had to breathe through intubation, so we sent her to the Cheng Kung University Hospital and discovered the 2-centimeter slit on her ear,” said Chen.

A Tear, Not a Cut: Cheng Kung University Hospital

The doctors from Cheng Kung University Hospital had stated that they could not determine how the baby's ear was cut as they were not there when she was born, but they decided that it was a tear, instead of a cut, said Chen, who refuted the statement by saying her daughter's injury was obviously caused by a sharp object. “Chuang has admitted (after the birth) that she had cut my baby's ear by accident,” said Chen.

Chuang continued to deny that she had cut the baby's ear during birth, saying that she had not discovered any injuries on the infant when it was born. “It was the Cheng Kung University Hospital doctors who decided the injury was a tear ... the baby's pulse had stopped, that's why I hoped the family would agree for me to perform a C-section,” said Chuang.

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