A newborn died after two doctors scuffled while the mother was in labor and Brazilian authorities said Thursday they are investigating to determine whether the delivery room fight caused the death or contributed to it.
The two doctors were fired by the public hospital in the small city of Ivinhema near the border with Paraguay, but investigators have not determined whether the fight played a role in the death, Ivinhema Health Secretary Sonia Garcao said.
Garcao would not comment on what caused the fight. But Brazil's Globo TV said witnesses reported one doctor got angry early Tuesday morning because the other doctor was summoned to deliver the baby for 32-year-old Gislaine de Matos Rodrigues even though he was not scheduled to be on duty.
Witnesses said the baby died of asphyxiation following complications, Globo TV reported. Neither Garcao nor Globo TV provided further details about how the asphyxiation happened.
One of the doctors admitted to Globo TV there was a fight in the delivery room, but blamed his colleague.
"I didn't get in a fight with him," said Dr. Sinomar Ricardo. "He got into a fight with me."
The network said it was unable to interview the second doctor.
Rodrigues, a seamstress, said she was terrified when the fight broke out. "I asked them to stop fighting and help me," she told Globo TV. "One of the nurses came to protect me and console me."
A third doctor took over the delivery after hospital security guards removed the fighting doctors, Rodrigues said. She said her baby girl was dead upon delivery.
Police said they will investigate, and the regional body that oversees doctors in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul also launched a probe. The two doctors were given 10 days to report their versions of what happened in the hospital's delivery room.
The autopsy report on the baby's death is expected to be released next week.
Associated Press Writer Alan Clendenning contributed to this report.