Indigenous Woman Gives Birth On Hospital Lawn In Mexico After Doctors Denied Her Care
A disturbing photo of a mom and her newborn with the umbilical cord still attached made the front page of a Mexican publication this week, raising questions about why the woman delivered her baby right outside a medical clinic.
The woman and the infant were brought inside the Oaxaca facility last week after the delivery and given proper treatment, GlobalPost.com reported. But health officials in Mexico are investigating why the woman was not in the clinic at the time she gave birth. The woman waited over two hours for treatment, according to the La Razón de México newspaper, which ran the photo.
The pregnant woman, identified by La Razon as Irma López Aurelio, 28, woke up in her home just before dawn Oct. 2, disturbed by her increasingly strong contractions.
She woke her husband and together they walked through the darkness to the closest health center in the nearby town of San Felipe Jalapa de Díaz.
By the time the couple arrived, La Razon reported, Lopez was fully dilated and her water had broken. Staffers examined her, but didn’t admit her to the clinic, the newspaper said.
The health center — working with a limited number of staff due to a partial work stoppage — said they were too shorthanded at the moment to help the pregnant woman, La Razon said.
Lopez and her husband, who hail from the Sierra Mazateca region where Spanish is not widely spoken, only understood the word “no,” La Razon reported. They retreated outside, where Lopez, then in full labor pains, continued to pace back and forth.
Her anxious husband stayed by her side as they hoped that at some point a nurse or doctor would call them into the center for treatment.
Two hours later, just before 8 a.m., La Razon said, Lopez dropped to one knee on a patch of grass outside the clinic and started pushing.
Already a mother of two, she recognized that the time had come, the paper said. Her screams brought people in a nearby residence running to their windows as she pushed her newborn son onto the grass beneath her.
A bystander who’d heard the commotion ran out and took a picture of her in the seconds after she gave birth. Her tiny baby was still attached to her through the umbilical cord.
Staffers from the health center then ran out to help the woman, and she and her healthy newborn were soon inside getting the care and treatment they needed, La Razon said.
An official for Oaxaca later told reporters the language barrier contributed to the confusion.
Staffers had told Lopez and her husband to wait outside while the staff prepared for delivery, Oaxaca Health Secretary German Tenorio said.
“When they went out to look for her they didn't find her,” Tenorio told a local TV station. The small clinic does not have an emergency room, according to GlobalPost.com.
Tenorio said that the woman “has problems understanding Spanish,” but also said that does not justify the mix-up.