ROMANIA – Death of a young pregnant woman whose doctors refused to treat outside work hours

“Alexandra was 25 years old, a mother of three children, ages 1, 4 and 5, and pregnant. She arrived at the maternity hospital in Botoşani at night, bleeding and with terrible abdominal pains. She was miscarrying and needed an emergency abortion. No doctors were present; however, so she sent them messages asking for help. They told her to wait until the next morning. But by then it was too late. She died, unable to breathe. A close friend of hers said only one of the doctors said they would come to attend her [presumably in the morning]; the others said there was nothing they could do. The death certificate said she died from pulmonary oedema, as a result of cardio-respiratory failure. It also said the origin of the problems was “arrested pregnancy [miscarriage] complicated by infection”.

“On social media, thousands of people expressed outrage and protested at the lack of treatment she received. Many demanded that the doctors involved resign. Her family are planning to sue the hospital. Five days after her death the interim hospital manager was “released” from his position.

“At her funeral, young and older women alike were talking about other “Alexandra cases”, said her closest friend. “They told us about the horrors they also experienced, how they were ignored, how the nurses didn’t take care of them properly or had totally inappropriate comments during the birth.”

“Protests were held outside the hospital gates for several evenings, with plans to continue for a month. The Minister of Health, Alexandru Rafila, said: ‘This event was not so much related to a medical error, as a lack of interest and empathy.’ The case is being investigated by the Police, the Directorate of Public Health and the Ministry of Health.”

SOURCES: Europa Libera Romania, by Andreea Ofițeru, 23 August 2023 ; SAFE (Supporting Abortions for Everyone) E-Newsletter, 29 August 2023