The thought of a vaginal birth can be too much for some women to handle. It was definitely too much for a 26-year-old Chinese woman identified as Ma Rongrong, who’d rather kill herself than deliver vaginally a 41-week baby who had an “unusually large head.”
Rongrong was 41 weeks pregnant when on August 31 she jumped from the fifth floor of the First Hospital of Yulin in Yulin, Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province. Her death was rule a suicide. But what could have led a seemingly happy mother-to-be to jump to her death, killing herself and her unborn child?
According to the Global Times, Rongrong was not allowed to choose how she wanted to deliver her baby. The medical consensus was that the baby should’ve been born via c-section, and while she agreed with them, her family opposed the procedure. As a result, the hospital had to deny the surgery to the mom-to-be.
After being admitted to the hospital, Rongrong signed an authorization giving her husband full control over her medical treatment. As her husband allegedly refused to let her have a c-section, she decided labor pain was so intense that she could not live with it.
The situation has, of course, sparked a debate on why Rongrong wasn’t allowed to choose her own procedure, as she was conscious and awake and was asked to sign that authorization form.
But there’s a reason for the sad event that occurred to Ma Rongrong. She was asked to sign a consent form to get authorization from her family members because China’s c-section rate was one of the highest in the world, with over 40 percent of babies being delivered that way. The World Health Organization recommended they try to lower their rate to 10 to 15 percent. As a result, every major public hospital in China requires consent from family members to perform c-sections unless there’s risk to the mother or the baby if delivered vaginally.
Not everything is so black and white, though. According to Zhou Zijun, a professor with the School of Public Health of Peking University, “China has no law that stipulates on what circumstances an authorization letter should be signed in medical practice, and China’s law also fails to specify who should be first informed for diagnosis and operation.”
The case has resulted in the temporary suspension of the doctor in charge of denying the procedure. The situation is still under investigation by local police.
[Featured Image by simonbradfield/iStock]