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Chinese debate medical rights after pregnant woman's suicide

From BBC - September 6, 2017

Chinese social media users are reacting with shock and horror after a heavily pregnant woman killed herself, reportedly after her familyrefusedto let her have a caesarean section.The 26-year-old woman, surnamed Ma, jumped froma hospital window in northern Shaanxi provinceon 31 August. The child she was carrying was also killed.Huo Junwei, a doctorat the Yulin Number One hospital, told China Economic Daily that Ms Ma "left the ward twice and told her family that the pain was unbearable, and that she wanted a caesarean section, but the family were not willing to allow the procedure."Her husband, surnamed Yan, refutes this, telling Beijing Youth Daily that "we did not disagree to a caesarean".

'Risky delivery'

A statement from the hospital saysMs Ma was 41 weeks pregnant, and that doctors had decided that "the large foetal head circumference meant that vaginal delivery would have been very risky".The hospital says that when medical staff sought the family's opinion, "the family said they understood, but refused the surgery, and wanted to keep the situation under observation." The hospital statement does not elaborate on the family members' relationship toMs Ma.Mr Yan confirmed that his wife had left the ward twice in pain. He said the situation had made him anxious and that he had asked the doctor to find someone "familiar with caesarean procedures".He said that by the time he got off the phone, his wife had disappeared. "Knowing my wife's character, I did not think she would have had such a strong reaction," he told Beijing Youth Daily.

'No right to make their own decisions'

Chinese law stipulates that medical staff must seek permission from family members before carrying out major surgical procedures.But social media users question why Ms Ma was not allowed to make a decision for herself.

Push against C-sections

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