After a pregnant woman fell to her death in an apparent suicide, a Shaanxi hospital is standing by its account of the tragedy, claiming that the woman’s family repeatedly refused to allow her to have a cesarean section. Meanwhile, the woman’s husband claims differently.
The 26-year-old woman, surnamed Ma, checked into the maternity ward of the First Hospital of Yulin last Wednesday, already more than 41 weeks pregnant. According to a statement from the hospital, doctors examined Ma and found that the fetal head was very large, meaning that vaginal delivery would likely be risky, so they recommended a C-section.
However, the woman’s family insisted on a natural birth, repeatedly refusing to give their permission for a cesarean, the statement said, adding that the woman herself twice came out of the maternity ward on Thursday to plead with her family, explaining to them that the pain was becoming just too much for her to bear. Still, the family refused to relent.
In China, a family member must give consent before a patient undergoes surgery, the doctors’ hands were tied.
At around 8 p.m. on Thursday night, Ma fell from a fifth-floor window of the ward, killing herself and her fetus. Police have ruled that it was a suicide.
After the hospital’s account went viral earlier today, Ma’s husband came forward to offer his own side of the tragedy, claiming that he had twice given permission for a C-section, but that doctors had said that the birth would happen soon naturally and that a cesarean was not actually needed.
However, speaking with a Beijing Youth Daily reporter later in the day, a hospital spokesperson said that the husband’s account did not agree with the facts, claiming that the man had never once given permission for the operation.
As evidence, the spokesperson, surnamed Yang, said that the hospital had the husband sign a form declaring that he understood the situation and possible consequences of not having a C-section as doctors had recommended.
In addition, the spokesperson said that afterward hospital officials had checked surveillance footage which shows the woman kneeling on the ground, desperately pleading for her family to give their consent.
Immediately afterward, the reporter called the husband’s home, but there was no answer. Instead, he called the husband’s cousin who repeated the husband’s account of the events. He admitted that Ma had pleaded with her family on her knees, but claimed that afterward the family had given their consent to the C-section, alleging that it was the doctor who rejected the operation, saying that she would give birth naturally soon.
At the moment, it’s not clear which side is telling the truth. However, in the court of online public opinion, most believe that the woman’s family is lying, with netizens questioning why a hospital would decline to do a C-section, a procedure with a higher price tag, and why the family had signed a form declaring that they knew the risks of not having a cesarean.
[UPDATE: 09/06] The hospital has published screen captures from surveillance video showing the woman pleading on knees to her relatives.
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