Pregnant woman in Xi’an loses baby for delayed treatment by local hospital under the excuse of expired nucleic acid test results

Street view in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province on December 23, 2021. Photo: VCG

The heartbreaking misfortune experienced by an eight months pregnant woman from Xi’an, capital of Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, who lost her baby after being left waiting outside a local private hospital for two hours, trended on Chinese social media on Wednesday. 

During the press briefing held by the Information Office of the Xi’an Municipal People’s Government on Wednesday, the local authorities stressed that all hospitals must not use the excuse of epidemic prevention and control to avoid treating patients. In addition, green passages should be set up for critical and severe patients, patients of hemodialysis, chemo and radiation, and women who are pregnant or giving birth.

The tragedy happened on the evening of January 1 when the woman suffered abdominal pains and failed to contact the local emergency hotline to get an ambulance. 

The city of 13 million has been in lockdown since December 23, last year under the latest COVID-19 flareup which has recorded 1,793 confirmed local cases as of Tuesday since December 9, 2021. 

Eventually, the woman was sent to Xi’an Gaoxin Hospital after contacting the police. However, when she was rushed for medical treatment at around 8 pm, the hospital refused to accept and treat her since her nucleic acid test results had expired, according to a post on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo made by a relative of the woman. 

The unfortunate expecting mother was kept waiting outside the hospital until 10 pm before she was finally admitted by the hospital while she suffered massive bleeding during the long wait. 

A video circulating online shows the woman sitting on a portable plastic stool and a pool of blood under her. 

However, due to the delayed treatment, the expectant mother, who was excited to see her baby in one month, eventually had a miscarriage. 

The woman said in the video that she expected the hospital could give her an explanation about the incident and hoped they could take the issue seriously. 

When contacted by the Global Times on Wednesday morning, a staffer from the hospital’s office of the Party working committee replied that the local health commission has launched an investigation into the incident and the hospital has no comments on the issue at the moment. The hospital was established in 2002 and has been evaluated as a third-tier comprehensive hospital since 2009. 

According to the general manager of the hospital, the woman is recovering from surgery, Jiupai News reported.

A staff from the Shaanxi Women’s Federation replied that they reported the incident to their supervisors and the department of rights and interests is dealing with the matter. Despite that the epidemic is ranging through the city currently, the federation will work out solutions to the incident, according to online news outlet yidianzixun.com. 

Many netizens were furious about the hospital’s negligence of duty. A netizen who claimed to be pregnant and who also goes to the Gaoxin Hospital for prenatal tests commented that she felt so sad for the expectant mother who carried her baby for eight months and endured all the pains of pregnancy but eventually was defeated by the hospital’s negligence of duty. She hoped that medical institutions can provide emergency channels for special patients and work out detailed emergency solutions for such cases. 

Another netizen commented that emergencies such as childbirth, heart attacks and cerebral hemorrhages that can hardly wait for nucleic acid testing results should be dealt with more humanely and emergency solutions should be prepared. 

China’s State Council issued on February 8, 2020, detailed requirements in regards to the handling of women who are pregnant or giving birth during the COVID-19 epidemic. 

According to the notice, hospitals should try to set up independent passages for outpatient services and obstetric department wards to practice the prevention and control requirements of hospital infections. 

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