Women sometimes give birth in strange places. After labor begins, it can be a matter of minutes before the baby is delivered. And once that ball gets rolling, it usually isn’t going to slow down without medical help, which leads to babies sometimes being born in public places.
Only in this situation, the mom in labor wasn’t en route to the hospital, having labor pains in the back of a taxi, nor was she stuck in traffic. Instead, she was on the lawn of a medical clinic. No, she didn’t just miss getting inside–instead, she was there because the medical clinic turned her away.
Irma Lopez, a mom of three, said that she was turned away from the Rural Health Center in Oaxaca, Mexico on October 2 because a nurse said that she wasn’t ready. Lopez was only eight months pregnant, but was fully dilated. The nurse told Lopez and her husband to come back in the morning and a doctor would check on her.
Having no other options, Lopez and her husband remained on the lawn of the clinic, where the woman’s water broke and she went through labor and delivery. Bystanders caught pictures of the delivery, which show Lopez squatting over the ground as her baby is coming out, still attached to the umbilical cord. Lopez was alone during the delivery because her husband was trying to get a nurse to call for help.
“I didn’t want to deliver like this. It was so ugly and with so much pain,” Lopez said. Lopez said that she and her husband walked to the medical clinic in the dark, which took them an hour. The mom who lives in a one-bedroom hut in the mountains said that it would have taken even longer to get to a highway and a hospital.
The nurses at the clinic have blamed the incident on a language barrier and said that Lopez didn’t understand that they were understaffed at the moment.
As bad as this sounds, Lopez isn’t the only woman to give birth outside the same clinic this year. Another woman gave birth on their lawn in July. According to Mexico’s census, one in five women in Oaxaca give birth somewhere other than a hospital or clinic.
‘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.
The Rural Health Center of the village of San Felipe Jalapa de Diaz in Oaxaca is being investigated and the health center’s director, Dr. Adrian Cruz, has been suspended for the time being.
How awful! A pregnant woman was refused treatment at an Oaxaca, Mexico health clinic on Oct. 2. After she was t… http://t.co/4ngNkJ9fnA
— Luca Forzin (@Luca_Forzin) October 10, 2013
So a women in Mexico gave birth on the hospital lawn after being turned away by the nurses. JESUS CHRIST pic.twitter.com/cIRCid5d73
— Mossinhno (@mossyf) October 10, 2013