Lauara Gallazzi’s voice falters as she says: “I should be preparing for a fifth birthday party.”
Saturday should have seen Laura celebrating five years since the birth of her son, Steven, but instead it was another day in her fight for justice.
On March 16 2014 Steven was decapitated in the womb during a botched delivery at Ninewells Hospital.
The horrific story made international headlines and appeared to destroy the reputation of Dr Vaishnavy Laxman, the consultant gynaecologist responsible for the tragedy.
The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) ruled that although Dr Laxman made a grave error in not attempting the delivery by C-section, she was still fit to practise medicine. She was last reported to be treating celebrity clients in India.
Laura still rests all of the blame on what happened with Dr Laxman. And she believes the specific injuries Steven suffered have given her a huge mountain to climb in her fight for justice.
Because Steven died without taking his first breath, he did not have a legal persona under Scots Law. This also means no fatal accident inquiry was held into his death.
Laura said: “If she hadn’t done what she did, I would have my son – and I wouldn’t have to fight as hard as I’ve had to.
“He would have been able to take a breath and at least have a legal persona so that a fatal
accident inquiry could have taken place.”
Laura is campaigning for a change in the law.
She’s already met with ministers including Jeane Freeman, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, to discuss her case.
Now, the mark Steven’s fifth birthday, she is hoping to hit 5,000 signatures in her petition.
She hopes to save other parents from going through the heartache she felt when she was told that, in the eyes of the law, Steven was not a person.
She said: “To have a procurator fiscal tell me there would be no criminal case because Steven had no legal persona was heartbreaking.
“I deal with this every day. It doesn’t go away. I need to make sure I’ve done absolutely everything possible for my son.”
Laura added that her determination to give her son a voice is what keeps her going.
“I don’t want to hear of anything like this ever happening again,” she said.
Laura’s water broke prematurely at 25 weeks, with the baby in the breech position.
She was also suffering from a prolapse of her umbilical cord. Even with these increased risks, and with the fact she was only 2-3cm dilated compared to the standard 10cm usually required for a natural birth, Dr Laxman attempted the procedure. The results were horrific.
After Steven was decapitated, another doctor was forced to perform a C–section to retrieve his head.
‘He was beautiful’
The pain of what happened almost cost Laura a precious goodbye.
Laura said: “I remember saying: ‘Don’t bring him in here, I don’t want to see him.”
Doctors managed to reattach his head enabling Laura to say goodbye and to take some photos.
She added: “They managed to fix him up and make him presentable. He was beautiful.”
Instead of a five year old lad to cuddle tight, Laura has only a blue teddy bear containing Steven’s ashes to bring her some comfort.
Laura now hopes that when she reaches the milestone of 5,000 signatures with her petition, she can present it to ministers or to the Scottish Parliament.
She says: “Every signature on that petition is an acknowledgment that Steven was a person. That he existed.”
A link to Laura’s petition can be found on the Justice4BabySteven Facebook page.