The Chinese internet is still in an uproar over the tragic death of a pregnant woman who allegedly committed suicide last week after her family refused to allow her to have a C-section, with more reports and revelations about the case continuing to roll in today, netizens are siding more and more with the hospital over the woman’s family.
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 which went viral yesterday, 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.
In the initial statement, the hospital failed to explain why Ma’s family was so against her having a cesarean, but this afternoon, the hospital’s head said that it was for two reasons. First, that the family believed that doctors love to do surgery because then they can charge higher prices and take a percentage. Second, that following a cesarean, a second pregnancy becomes more “complicated.” The official added that Ma’s family’s believed that childbirth would always be painful for a woman with Ma’s mother-in-law urging her to “persevere.”
Earlier today, Ma’s family dismissed speculation that they had refused to give permission for a cesarean because they were “too cheap,” noting that they had six cave dwellings, a common kind of housing in northern Shaanxi province, and a car.
After the hospital’s account went viral yesterday, 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, 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 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 floor, desperately pleading for her family to give their consent. Earlier today, the hospital released that footage online.
In response to the footage, the woman’s family has said that Ma was not kneeling to plead with them, but because of the intense pain that she felt, claiming once again that afterward they gave their permission for the surgery.
While it’s still not completely clear which side is telling the truth, the vast majority of netizens believe that the woman’s family is lying, trying to “save face” and perhaps weasel their way into some compensation money. Weibo users have questioned why a hospital would decline to do a C-section, a procedure with a higher price tag, why the family had signed a form declaring that they knew the risks of not having a cesarean, and why the woman was forced to leave the maternity ward twice to “kneel” on the floor for an extended period of time.
One popular comment argues that the woman would not throw herself from a window if her C-section was denied by doctors, only if it was done by her supposedly loving family. Another commenter called Ma’s family members worse than human, calling them for them to charged with a crime over her tragic death.
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