A private clinic in Ho Chi Minh City has suspended a Chinese doctor who allegedly almost killed a woman with an unauthorized procedure to terminate her 17-week pregnancy.
Lian Xing Fang, 57, was working with a valid license and work permit at the International General Clinic on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street in District 1, which has not been licensed to provide abortion services.
The clinic has tried to shrug off its responsibility, saying she performed the procedure without consulting the management board.
As of Wednesday the patient, only identified as M., was still staying at the Tu Du Hospital nearby for the fourth day of treatment for internal bleeding and uterine perforation.
M., a 48-year-old married woman and mother of two, said she had signs of menopause the past two years and did not think that she could be pregnant again.
When her belly showed early this month, she went to a general hospital and found out she had been pregnant for four months.
Considering herself too old to have a baby, she asked for an abortion but the hospital refused, referring her to Tu Du, a leading obstetrics hospital in the city.
But doctors at Tu Du also turned her down, saying the fetus had grown big and it would be very risky.
Vietnam, which records the highest abortion rate in Southeast Asia and among the highest worldwide, does not specifically ban abortion but medical health protocols limit facilities from providing certain kinds of abortion at certain ages of the pregnancy.
M. went home and shared her problem with a neighbor, who introduced her to the private clinic.
She came on April 10 and Lian agreed to provide the service immediately.
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The doctor first inserted a pill in an attempt to force the uterus to contract and expel the fetus, but it did not work. She tried the suction method and also failed.
When M. suffered from the complications, the clinic transferred her to Tu Du, where doctors performed an urgent surgery to remove the fetus, which doctors said had been torn in half.
They said she would have died if they had not intervened in time.
Dr Bui Minh Trang, chief inspector of Ho Chi Minh City’s Health Department, said the clinic can be fined up to VND60 million (less than US$3,000) for providing a service beyond its registered areas.
Quang Phung Linh, a senior manager of the clinic, said “the doctor was acting on her own in this.”
Linh said her clinic has tried to save the patient by rushing her to Tu Du and it will do anything it can to help her recovery.
“Next time the patient visits us, we will cover all the costs,” she said, cited by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
She said the patient has agreed to a compensation offered by the clinic, without specifying how much.