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Uproar after hospitals turn away pregnant woman

(Xinhua)

08:29, October 31, 2012

KUNMING, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- Doctors and nurses at three hospitals have been labeled as "cruel and inhumane" after they turned away a pregnant woman who was carrying a stillborn fetus.

The woman, Zhao Qiongfen, was told to "try elsewhere" by doctors at the hospitals in southwest China's Yunnan Province on Oct. 25, when she needed help after learning that the fetus she was carrying had died.

Medical staff with Yan'an Hospital, Kunming Municipal Maternal and Child Health Hospital and Third People's Hospital of Yunnan Province, all in Kunming City, capital of Yunnan, declined to operate as they did not have medicine or bed.

Yunnan Provincial Health Department confirmed with Xinhua on Tuesday that six medical workers at two hospitals involved in the incident have been held accountable. Some of them have been put under a three-month suspension from their posts.

The health department is investigating whether the other hospital was short of beds.

The three hospitals have admitted to having "service problems" during the incident and have apologized to Zhao. She is currently in another hospital after having a cesarean delivery.

"Our doctors involved in the incident lack a sense of responsibility," said Gu Xin, vice head of Yan'an Hospital. "They have violated doctors' code of ethics."

But Gu did not say why the doctors turned Zhao away.

The refusal to treat Zhao has sparked outrage in China's cyberspace, with some saying that doctors feared she would try to extort compensation for the stillbirth. Others said the doctors simply did not want to get into trouble.


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