Polish prosecutors and ombudsman investigate death of pregnant woman in hospital
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Prosecutors and the patients’ ombudsman in Poland are investigating the death of a pregnant woman at a hospital, amid the family’s accusations that the doctors kept them in the dark as to the danger and didn’t take proper steps to save her.
The death last month of the 33-year-old woman was the second such case reported in southern Poland since September and raised questions whether doctors were afraid to perform abortions to save women with complicated pregnancies.
The 33-year-old woman, identified only as Dorota, went to the hospital after her waters broke in the fifth month of her pregnancy. She died there of sepsis three days later. In September, a woman identified as Iza died in similar circumstances in a hospital in the town of Pszczyna, leading to nationwide women’s protests under the motto of “Not a Single One More.”
Two years ago, Poland’s conservative government severely restricted access to abortion, but the law does allow the termination of a pregnancy if the woman’s health or life is in danger.
Opposition lawmakers said women were concerned for their wellbeing because of the tough law.
“Women in Poland have the right to feel safe and have the right to have confidence in those who are treating them,” said Marcelina Zawisza of the Left party.
“Doctors’ two most basic responsibilities — to protect the life and health of their patients and to do them no harm in the case of pregnant women ... are constantly being violated,” said another Left party lawmaker, Magdalena Biejat
Dorota’s family said the doctors hadn’t made them aware of the danger to the woman’s life and this deprived them of the right to decide whether to save her through an abortion. They hired a lawyer who specializes in medical cases. The state official representing patients’ interests also opened an investigation.
The hospital in Nowy Targ reported the case to the local prosecutor’s office and pledged its full cooperation.