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Health minister suspends hospital director after woman gives birth on street

A video of a woman in labour outside a public hospital in Egypt's Delta went viral on the internet, opening the door to accusations of negligence

Ahram Online , Monday 20 Oct 2014
Health Ministry
Egypt's Health Ministry Adel El-Adawi (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Health minister Adel Adawy has ordered the suspension of Kafr El-Dawar General Hospital's director over the accusations that a patient in labour was not admitted to the state-owned hospital, thus forcing her to give birth in the street, an incident that created controversy.

Adawy also suspended the doctors of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the same hospital in Beheira governorate referring them to the administrative prosecution for investigation in the incident that took place in Beheira, North Delta. 

The health minister also commissioned a committee from the health ministry’s clinical medicine and technical inspection sector to investigate the incident. 

The incident created controversy in Egypt after a video showing the woman giving birth to a baby in front of Kafr El-Dawar general hospital went viral online.

In the short video clip, uploaded to YouTube late last week a woman was shown giving birth in the street aided by nurses in front of Kafr El-Dawar General hospital. People outside the hospital kept angrily stating that she was forced to give birth naturally after a doctor told her she needed a caesarian section.

Ahmed Abdel-Fattah Moussa, the woman’s husband, told Al-Ahram Arabic that media reports which included statements of the health sector officials in Beheira governorate were false. 

"The incident happened on Friday 10 October, my wife was going into labour and we went to Kafr El-Dawwar General hospital to find that there was only one doctor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology in the hospital who was doing a cesarean section for another patient, we waited for him until a young doctor came and checked my wife, telling her that she needed a cesarean section," Mr. Moussa told Al-Ahram Arabic. 

The young doctor recommended that they head to El-Shatby Maternity Hospital in Alexandria as soon as possible, according to Mr. Moussa.

"Then while we were outside the hospital to take a taxi, my wife's pains increased and so I got a stretcher trolley from the hospital so she could lay on it but she fell suddenly beside my mom and her water broke." Moussa continued to recount the incident, adding that when his baby's head began to appear, two nurses came from the hospital to help.

"The two nurses cut the umbilical cord then transferred her to the hospital where she underwent two surgeries because she gave birth while standing," he added. 

Mr. Moussa believed that there was negligence on the hospital’s part towards his wife. Already, he reported the hospital to both the administrative prosecution and Kafr El-Dawar police station. 

Moussa added that his wife was sad and cried when she found out that several people filmed the incident outside the hospital. "It is like a scandal for us," he said.  

The video already was shown on several news websites, shared on social media and aired on television talk shows. Many programs criticised the health ministry and others accused Moussa and his wife of being Muslim Brotherhood members who were trying to defame Egypt and create controversy because his wife was wearing a niqab. 

Mohamed Namatallah, the undersecretary of the health ministry in Beheira governorate defended Kafr El-Dawar General Hospital and its doctors, denying Moussa’s claims that his wife was not allowed to give birth inside the hospital. 

In statements to Al-Shorouk Daily newspaper published in the newspaper's Monday issue, Dr. Namatallah insisted that the pregnant woman did not give birth in the street but in front of the hospital's reception. 

The hospital also released a report on Sunday denying the family's accusations, reported Reuters' Aswat Masriya. 

The hospital said the patient was examined on Oct 10 and might need a caesarian section due to "the large size of the embryo." Three hours later, the hospital said, the patient began suffering from labour pain outside the door of the reception and emergency room. 

The medical team asked the patient to move into the reception and emergency room to deliver the infant, the report read. It added that one of those accompanying the patient "strongly refused" to admit her into the reception and emergency room "to film her" as she delivered the infant outside.

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