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Think Our Healthcare System Is Bad? Mexican Woman Photographed Giving Birth On Clinic Lawn After Being Denied

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Sean Levinson

A photograph of a Mexican woman giving birth on a patch of grass outside a medical center after being denied treatment has ignited a national investigation that led to the head of the clinic that turned her away being suspended.

The image, taken by an onlooker, shows 29-year-old Irma Lopez, who is of Mazatec ethnicity, squatting over a lawn as her baby literally falls out of her.

According to Daily Mail, the government of Oaxaca announced Wednesday that it has suspended Dr. Adrian Cruz, the director of the health center that declined to help the woman.

Lopez, a married mother of three, said that she and her husband were rejected from the Rural Health Center of the village of San Felipe Jalapa de Diaz by a nurse who said she was only eight months pregnant and “still not ready” to deliver, even though Lopez was clearly fully dilated.

The couple, who do not speak Spanish because of their indigenous Oaxaca heritage, could not understand much of what the nurse was saying besides the word “no,” so they went outside.

The nurse blamed the incident on the language barrier, but also claimed that there wasn’t enough staff on hand to treat the woman.

“I didn’t want to deliver like this. It was so ugly and with so much pain,” Lopez said, adding that she was alone for the birth because her husband was inside trying to get the nurse to help.

Eloy Pacheco Lopez, who was among a large group of people drawn to the incident by Lopez’s screams, took the photo and sold it to a news reporter. He also shared the image on Facebook with the caption:

“After waiting and demanding attention for two hours, she gave birth in the yard of the hospital after being ignored by personnel under the direction of the supposed doctor Adrian René Cruz Cabrera.”

Hundreds of women still die during or immediately after pregnancy in Mexico, where there is much discrimination against indigenous people like the Lopezs.

“The photo is giving visibility to a wider structural problem that occurs within indigenous communities: Women are not receiving proper care. They are not being offered quality health services, not even a humane treatment,” said Mayra Morales, Oaxaca’s representative for the national Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights.

Lopez said that to get to the clinic, she and her husband walked for an hour in the dark from the family’s one-room hut in the mountains of northern Oaxaca. It would have taken them even longer to get to the nearest highway to catch a ride to a hospital.

Silvia Flores, the mayor of the town where the medical center is located, told website Clarin that this is actually the second time in a year an indigenous woman has given birth in this exact location.

In July, a woman from Oaxaca had a baby on the same grass patch.

While many officials urge women to deliver their babies at clinics, the rural centers have very limited hours and staff.

After giving birth, Lopez was taken in by the clinic and given prescriptions for medications costing her about $30. Health officials said she and her baby were in good health.

“I am naming him Salvador,” said Lopez, a name that means “Savior” in English. “He really saved himself.”

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Via: Daily Mail, Photos Courtesy: La Razon

Sean Levinson

Sean Levinson

Staff Writer

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