A pregnant woman in labour pains has jumped to her death after doctors refused to ease her pains by performing C-section to ease her agony. After multiple requests were refused, she jumped five floors from a hospital window in northern China to her death, according to AFP.
The woman identified as Ma Rongrong has left her family members in shock with many blaming the hospital for denying her surgery that could have eased her suffering. The incident has sparked a national discussion on everything from the high cost of health care and patients' rights to the dangers of traditional Chinese family values.
The conversation reached fever pitch this week after leaked security footage showing Ma on her knees in front of her family in a hospital corridor went viral.
In response to the uproar, the official People's Daily said in an editorial that no matter who is ultimately to blame, the incident should serve as a national wake-up call.
"It is necessary to pay more attention to pregnant women's feelings, and pay greater respect to their autonomy," it said.
"We need to have more empathetic understanding and care for them. We cannot only think about policies and interests."
The hospital has said it recommended Ma undergo the procedure, but that she and her husband insisted on natural birth in the belief it was better for the child.
As evidence, the hospital posted Ma's surgery log on its official social media account, showing the family had denied her requests.
Ma had signed an authorisation granting her husband the right to make medical decisions on her behalf, it said, adding the hospital therefore "had no right to change the delivery method without (his) consent".
But Ma's husband, Yan Zhuangzhuang, told the Beijing Youth Daily that he had agreed to his wife's surgery: it was the doctor who said it was unnecessary.
Under Chinese law, the decision should have been made by the person herself, according to Feng Lihua, an expert on medical disputes at Beijing's Zhongdun Law Firm.
"It cannot be authorised by other people," he told AFP.