‘Faceless baby’ expected to live only hours celebrates his first birthday

A "faceless baby" has celebrated his first birthday this month despite doctors saying he would live only a few hours.

Rodrigo was born without eyes, nose and part of his skull in the city of Setubal, in the south-western Portuguese Lisbon metropolitan area.

Due to the complicated medical situation, Rodrigo's case led to a criminal investigation against the doctor who controlled the mother's pregnancy.

The child's parents had denounced the obstetrician in charge of the gestation process last year for not previously noticing the condition of their child, insisting that the foetus was "fine" and did not present any abnormality.

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After his birth, the Setubal Hospital Centre opened an investigation to determine if there was medical negligence during the birth of the baby, since the doctor did not detect the malformations in the ultrasound tests.

It later transpired that he was still working, despite having four open disciplinary processes. He was suspended from duty in April.

According to national newspaper 20 Minutos, the baby has been at home now for three months, although he continues to have special follow-ups.

His parents have been guaranteed 24-hour support and a paediatric palliative care team visits the baby so that he can maintain his stability.

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The life expectancy for baby Rodrigo was expected to be very little, but he has surprised medical professionals by surviving up until now.

The baby's mother Marlene Simao recalls the baby's baptism at three days of age in the ICU, saying: "It seemed like a farewell. We were around the incubator."

However despite the doctor's prognosis that the child would only live a few hours, Rodrigo has now celebrated his first birthday.

Simao said that due to the pandemic, they have not been able to carry out a larger celebration for her son's birthday, saying: "The party is not as big as we imagined due to Covid-19, but we celebrate it.

Dad Constantino Alves said: "Rodrigo showed us that even medicine is not accurate.

"In the fight against all negative prognosis, Rodrigo possesses a great desire to live. He is a fighter."

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