A father has accused a doctor of stealing the baby from his wife's womb after she awoke from a C-section to be told her pregnancy had been ‘imaginary’, it was reported today.
Brazilian Claudia Aparecida Lopes, 30, claimed she attended all her pre-natal appointments and even had two ultra-sound scans.
The last scan, at nine months, even showed the baby was in a breech position and needed to be delivered by caesarean, her family said.
But when she woke up from the procedure at a hospital in Alto Paranaiba, southeast Brazil, Ms Lopes was told there had never been a baby in her womb and she had imagined the pregnancy.
Ms Lopes husband, Alexandro Donizete Alves, 23, who reported the case to police, told Brazil's G1 website he is ‘indignant’ and needs to know what really happened to his son, who would be the couple's third child.
He said: ‘My wife did a pregnancy test at the chemist and it was positive. So we made a doctor's appointment, and he confirmed the pregnancy, even telling us it was a boy.
‘During one of the two scans the doctor told us the birth couldn't be natural because the child was sitting down, and it needed to be a caesarean.
He said his mother went with Ms Lopes for the operation at the Santa Terezinha hospital on Monday.
He said: ‘My mother was waiting outside the operating room to be called, when the news came that it was just an imaginary pregnancy, that there had never been a baby in there, despite everything.
He said the doctor who performed the operation, Jose Tomaz de Oliveira, had seen his wife at the end of December and had even prescribed vitamins designed for pregnant mothers.
‘I need to know if my son was in there, and what happened to him. I was the father and I have this right.
‘Caesarean is a serious thing and you can't go opening up a person without knowing for sure.
Dr Oliveira, by email, told the G1 website that he had only seen Ms Lopes twice and hadn't personally done the ultrasound scans.
He added that the hospital had already handed over records to police and couldn't comment further on the case.
Civil police chief Claudia Coelho Franchi confirmed he had ordered an investigation into the case, including tests to find out if Ms Lopes had been pregnant.
Alexandre Rodrigues, from the Medical Council of Minas Gerais state (CRM-MG), said an internal inquiry had also been launched.
He said: ‘At the moment I don't know who falsified what. We don't yet know why a caesarian was carried out and everything has to be investigated.
‘We could we dealing with a psychiatrically-disturbed patient. The investigation is to find out exactly where and in what moment the error occurred.
This week's case is the latest of a number of disturbing similar recent incidents in Brazil.
Last month a ‘heavily-pregnant’ woman was also told she'd had a ‘phantom pregnancy’ after also waking up from a C-section at a hospital in Cabo Frio, in the state of Rio de Janeiro.
The 37-year-old woman had reportedly arrived at the town's women's hospital with a large belly and proof of her pre-natal treatment, which showed she was 41 weeks' pregnant.
And in December last year another Brazilian woman, Layane Santos, accused a hospital in Sao Paulo from stealing the baby from her room during a caesarean.
The 19-year-old had received pre-natal treatment during her entire pregnancy, with nurses recording the growing size of her baby and even measuring the foetal heart beats.
According to reports, Ms Santos even had an ultra-sound in the final week of her pregnancy, which showed he was carrying a baby girl who weighed albs and measured 42cm.