Parents plan to sue after baby born without legs

A couple living in the northern Italian city of Parma are planning to take legal action against healthcare providers in Parma after their baby was born without lower legs.

Parents plan to sue after baby born without legs
Photo: Joel Saget/AFP

The baby boy, named Bryan, was born on Christmas Day at Maggiore di Parma hospital to a 34-year-old Italian woman, Monica, and her Albanian husband, Hector, La Repubblica reported.

There were no complications with the birth and the child was otherwise born healthy apart from the malformation of the lower legs.

The baby was discharged a few days after but his parents, who have another boy of seven years old, are planning to take legal action after both a private gynaecologist and public health medics failed to detect the malformation during the woman’s pregnancy.

“Until December 25th, everything had been going fine,” the Ferrara-based lawyer Silvia Gamberoni told La Repubblica.

“Then the baby was born with this severe malformation, without it ever emerging from any of the scans done.”

For the first five months of her pregnancy the woman was under the care of a private gynaecologist in Parma, before going for scans at a public healthcare clinic, where the last ultrasound was carried out in November.

“The findings of this scan were normal, other tests were carried out in hospital,” the lawyer added.

A growth abnormality is usually detected by a fetal morphology, or anomaly scan, which is carried out between the 19th and 21st week of pregnancy, Paolo Volpe, president of the Italian Society of Obstetric Ultrasonography and Gynaecology, told La Repubblica.

Gamberoni said investigations are underway to ascertain who is responsible for the error, which could involve a number of medics.

“Formal notices have been sent all parties concerned – the private doctor in Parma, the local health clinic where tests were carried out, the local health authority and the hospital.”

Italy’s maternity care is already under pressure amid an investigation into the deaths of five women during childbirth between December 25th and December 31st.

While all appeared to have explicable causes, their concentration over the holiday period has raised questions over whether hospital staffing may have been a factor and also over whether older mothers-to-be are being sufficiently monitored for warning signs of potentially fatal conditions.

Read more: Italy in shock over spate of childbirth deaths

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Despite changing attitudes, Swiss women still fear having a baby will harm their career

Women in Switzerland still feel having a child may damage their job prospects, a study has revealed.

Despite changing attitudes, Swiss women still fear having a baby will harm their career

Released in November after taking into account responses across the country, the report showed a majority of women said having a child would have a negative impact on their job prospects. 

These concerns were particularly high among tertiary-educated women, of whom 70 percent said they held such fears. 

Currently, women in Switzerland are entitled to 14 weeks of maternity leave, while a recent proposal has been passed to provide men with two weeks off in the birth of a child. 

Women with a lower level of education – 62 percent – also said they feared the impact of childbirth. The fears were less prevalent among men, with 37 percent tertiary-educated and 30 percent of secondary school-educated men saying they thought having a child might have a negative impact on their careers. 

The study also showed that among those who wanted kids, two children was the preferred amount. A total of 60 percent of Swiss said they wanted to have two children, compared with four per cent who wanted just one child and nine percent who wanted no children at all. 

Childcare across the cantons

The study showed that while childcare was popular in Switzerland, there were major differences between cantons. 

In Romandy – the French-speaking part of Switzerland – approximately 50 percent of families used day nurseries or supplementary child care. 

Have your say: How can you save money on raising children in Switzerland

Elsewhere however, childcare use was much less common. In German-speaking Switzerland, only a third of families use childcare – while in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino less than a quarter use it. 

In both of these regions, care from family members is much more prevalent, with 43 percent and 48 percent in German and Italian-speaking Switzerland respectively. 

The research also illustrated an urban-regional split when it came to the use of childcare. Of Swiss families in urban areas around 60 percent use childcare, while in smaller urban areas that figure falls to 37 percent. 

In rural communities, less than a quarter of Swiss use childcare. 

Working mothers?

The study did however show a continued changing of attitudes with regard to working mothers. 

In the mid-1990s, more than three in five men felt that a child suffers when the mother goes back to work. This figure is now down to 36 percent, after being 44 percent in 2013. 

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Around one half of women surveyed in 1995 felt that returning to work early had negative impacts on the child, with that figure also decreasing to 33 percent in 2013 and around 27 percent currently.