An infant who became known as “the faceless baby” after being born without eyes, nose and part of his skull has celebrated his first birthday this month…

This despite doctors saying he would only live for a few hours.

The ‘baby without a face’, Rodrigo, was born 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 last year for not 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.

Baby without a face
A Facebook shared by Rodrigo’s mother wishing her son a happy birthday. (Newsflash/

It later transpired that the doctor was still working, despite having four open disciplinary processes.

He was suspended from duty in April.

According to national newspaper 20 minutos, after spending most of his life in hospital, 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.

The life expectancy for baby Rodrigo was expected to be very short, but he has surprised medical professionals by surviving to his first birthday.

The baby’s mother Marlene Simao recalls the baby’s baptism at 3 days of age in the ICU saying: “It seemed like a farewell. We were around the incubator.”

Baby without a face
The baby Rodrigo. (@mara.sardinha.5/Newsflash/

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.

The father of the minor, 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.”

Baby without a face
Rodrigo’s parents. (David Ribeiro/Newsflash/
Baby without a face
The baby Rodrigo when he was a newborn. (David Ribeiro/Newsflash/