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North Korean newborn dies after local hospital refuses care

A newborn died during childbirth in South Pyongan Province when its mother tried to give birth at home after being refused care at a hospital.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a source in South Pyongan Province said Monday that the mother, who lives in Anju, was in her ninth month of pregnancy. She rushed to the hospital when her water suddenly broke, but returned home as she was unable to pay what the hospital charged for the operation. In the end, the baby died during delivery at home, and the mother became critically ill.

The mother had suffered two previous miscarriages due to ectopic pregnancies, so when she finally conceived last year, her entire family was looking forward to a safe delivery.

However, when the mother’s water suddenly broke in her ninth month of pregnancy, she quickly made her way to the city hospital.

The city hospital looked at her condition and said she needed to be hospitalized immediately because she and her baby were in danger. However, they also told her that she could only be hospitalized if her family could secure payment for the hospitalization, surgery, and medicine.

Unable to afford the payments, the family decided against hospitalization and returned home. When the mother went into labor, she had no choice but to give birth at home.

A local doctor and neighbors with midwifery experience gathered to help, but the baby was stillborn and the mother was in critical condition from excessive bleeding.

With the mother’s life in danger, family members ran into the street, stopped a passing taxi, and took her to the provincial hospital.

While the provincial hospital examined and treated the woman, it also investigated what had happened at the city hospital. It acknowledged that the city hospital had erred in refusing to admit a pregnant woman who needed urgent care because she could not pay for it herself, but it also understood that it was difficult for the city hospital to cover the costs when it did not receive government support.

However, the woman’s family and people who witnessed what happened criticized the hospital, saying that “a hospital that puts money before the life of a pregnant woman and a baby needs to get its act together.”

Many women in North Korea still give birth at home because of the country’s poor medical environment. People have criticized the government over this, accusing authorities of “showing no interest in and providing no support for pregnancy and childbirth,” the source said.

Meanwhile, the woman has regained consciousness and is recovering, he added.

Translated by David Black. Edited by Robert Lauler. 

Daily NK works with a network of sources living in North Korea, China, and elsewhere. Their identities remain anonymous for security reasons. For more information about Daily NK’s network of reporting partners and information-gathering activities, please visit our FAQ page here.

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Read in Korean

April 09, 2024 at 01:30PM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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