The families of three women who died during deliveries at different hospitals around Vietnam last week are accusing doctors of negligence and want the cases to be investigated.
Nguyen Thi Loan, 35, of the northern province of Bac Ninh, and Dao Thi Hanh, 31, of nearby Hung Yen Province, died before delivery.
Both their babies too died but the women had two older children each.
For Le Thi Huong, 23, of the central Quang Ngai Province, it was her first delivery, and the child is in critical condition and on a respirator after a C-section Thursday.
Kinh Bac General Hospital, a private facility in Bac Ninh where Loan died early Saturday, was closed from Sunday morning after many people, including her relatives, protested outside, accusing it of "murder," Nguoi Lao Dong reported.
Other patients were transferred to the province general hospital.
The hospital opened again on Monday but a doctor and a nurse directly involved in the delivery have been suspended for 15 days for investigations.
Loan died 30 minutes after being taken to the labor room.
Ngo Bao Toan, her uncle, said his family suspected the death was caused by doctors injecting Loan with labor-inducing drugs, causing her body to push the baby before her uterus opened, which could have suffocated the baby.
Loan herself may have been killed by fatigue, he said.
Her mother, Nguyen Thi Se, said Loan started to have contractions soon after midnight Saturday and asked for an obstetrician, but doctors were busy with another delivery and took 10 minutes to come.
"Around 20 minutes after they took her into the delivery room, a doctor came out and asked me to get some towels and diapers for the mother. She was foaming at the mouth when I went in," she told Tuoi Tre newspaper.
The doctor then came out again and told the family that the woman and her baby had both died, she said.
Loan had asked for a C-section when she went to the hospital for a check-up Friday but doctors said she should wait for a normal delivery.
The provincial health authorities have sought the help of the police to investigate the cause of the death and consulted experts from the Ministry of Public Security.
The police are also investigating the death of Huong, who had worked with her husband in Ho Chi Minh City but traveled back to her hometown in Quang Ngai to be with her mother for the delivery.
Her husband Tran Cong said her water broke and she was admitted to Quang Ngai General Hospital Wednesday night.
Doctors had refused to perform a C-section when she started to have severe labor pains.
"I told them to perform an operation because she could not bear it any more. But doctors examined her and sent her back to the delivery waiting room. They said she was fully capable of a normal delivery," he told Tuoi Tre.
By Thursday afternoon, Huong was unable to stand. The doctors examined her again and sent her straight to the operation room, telling him that she had respiratory problems of which they had found no trace during earlier examinations.
The baby was sent to intensive care after the surgery but Huong died Friday morning.
Tuoi Tre quoted Nguyen The Hung, the hospital director, as saying "Doctors at the hospital did not know that the family had wanted an operation."
Cong said examinations during the last nine months in Ho Chi Minh City had found his wife and baby to be healthy.
"I want the hospital to clarify," he said.
Also on Friday Hanh and her unborn four-kilogram son died at Hung Yen General Hospital.
The hospital has promised to investigate the case, but said it is likely that mother and child were killed by obstructions in the placenta.
Earlier, in March and last October, two women died under similar circumstances in Phu Yen Province in the south-central region and Ben Tre Province in the Mekong Delta, with doctors saying they only noticed abnormalities during delivery.
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