A hospital in Serbia has sparked outrage following the death of a newborn baby ‘after a doctor jumped on a pregnant woman’s stomach during labour’
According to Mail Online, a Roma woman accused her gynaecologist of ‘jumping on her stomach’ and insulting her ethnicity while she was in labour. Her newborn later died.
The doctor in the northwestern town of Sremska Mitrovica has since been arrested on accusations of jeopardising a person’s health, police confirmed, and was in custody.
Meanwhile, the board of directors of the town’s General Hospital responded to the calls, approving new measures allowing women to appoint one person of choice to accompany them in childbirth, provided they can pass standard medical checks.
But the victim today told local media that a post-mortem report simply concluded that her baby’s death was caused by ‘violent childbirth’.
Following the incident, social media was flooded with similar testimonies involving abuse during gynaecological procedures and medical staff allegedly assaulting patients in Serbia.
Activists say women in the region have faced abusive medical treatment for decades, where discussions of such issues are often taboo.
In Serbia and across the Balkans, a combination of patriarchal values and a weak legal system has allowed for various types of violence against women to often go unchecked.
The Kreni-Promeni advocacy group has said it collected more than 190,000 signatures in a petition calling for reforms that would allow for pregnant women to be accompanied by a partner while giving birth.
The petition was delivered to the Serbian health ministry this morning.
‘This is a call to protect all future mothers, so that they can feel safer and that they will bring their babies to the world in a better and less stressful environment,’ said Marina Pavlic, executive director of Kreni-Promeni, in a statement.
Responding to news of the case last week, Minister of Health Danica Grujičić said: ‘Obstetric violence is inadmissible. We must give special attention and care to pregnant women and women in labour. We will work on additional education of colleagues and protect mothers and pregnant women in every way.’
But she went on to caution against a mass discrediting of doctors.