A woman in China, who was 41 weeks pregnant, wanted to have a caesarian section.
Ma Rongrong was reportedly admitted to a maternity ward at Yulin No 1 Hospital, situated in China’s Shaanxi province.
According to a statement from the hospital, published by China Business News, doctors examined Ma and found the fetal head was very large, which meant a natural vaginal delivery would likely be riskier.
Therefore, they recommended a C-section.
But Ma’s family demanded a natural delivery. The 26-year-old woman allegedly walked out of the maternity ward twice. There are pictures that show the woman in pain and a video that shows her begging the hospital staff for a c-section.
Sadly, no one listened. Ultimately, her pain became unbearable, and Ma jumped off from the fifth floor.
She died along with her unborn baby.
The tragic case has prompted heated debate in China over medical rights of women.
"Besides the pregnant woman, there's no need to ask anyone else their opinion," read one Weibo comment with more than 40,000 likes. "A married woman is not some tool for producing babies, how can people still be so ignorant these days!" read another comment.
However, after the incident, Yan Zhuangzhuang, Ma's husband, contradicted the hospital’s statement and said he immediately agreed to the C-section and it was actually the hospital’s fault.
The husband's statement said the doctor checked Ma's condition and said she was going to give birth soon and did not need a C-section. He was later informed via nurses that his wife disappeared and moments later he saw medical staff placing his wife’s dead body on a stretcher.
When China Daily tried to reach the husband and the hospital for further clarification, no one answered the phone calls.
According to a regulation released by the State Council, China's Cabinet, medical institutions need to get consent from patients and a signature from any of their family member before performing a surgery, however, the doctors are also allowed to make decisions without consent in cases of emergencies.
Dr Gong Xiaoming, a gynaecologist at Shanghai First Maternity and Infant Hospital, said pregnant women should have the right to decide whether to have a natural birth or caesarean section.
"In reality, in many cases in China the decision to have a caesarean section is made by the patients' family members and the doctors," he said.
Even though, cesarean deliveries are not widely suggested, due to the fact that the babies face higher risk of wet-lung disease as they did not pass through the birth canal of the mother, and the mothers also take time to recover after the delivery.
However, in cases of emergencies, like that in Ma’s case, its implication cannot and should not be denied.
"For the health of mothers and children, we encourage natural births, but we cannot demonize caesarean section," said Dr Gong. "It is a last resort but a necessary last measure."
Thumbnail Credits: Reuters, Jorge Cabrera