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Hospital accused in young mother’s death

A 20-year-old Oddar Meanchey mother who died six days after giving birth to twins was the victim of medical malpractice, her family and a local rights group said yesterday, though hospital administrators insist they have been cleared by a provincial investigation.

Rou Sona, 20, gave birth to female twins on October 28, at Anlong Veng district hospital, but fell ill six days later on November 3, and died the same day, according to her husband, Prom Srak, 27.

After returning to Anlong Veng district hospital coughing blood and with a high fever, Sona was transferred to the provincial hospital within hours.

“My wife’s condition became worse and worse [after arriving at the provincial hospital], so I tried to get the doctors to help by knocking on [their] door six times. They did not come to help but only told me they would inject her with medicine if any was left,” Srak said.

He added that after his wife was given no medical attention, he told staff he wanted her transferred to Siem Reap provincial hospital. “They only ran to help after my wife died in my arms. How could they help [then]? When she was still alive they did nothing,” Srak said.

The twins remain alive and well, he continued, adding that his wife was healthy before giving birth.

That contention was backed by Srey Naren, a provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, who attributed the death to “negligence and lack of care from medical staff”.

But Klouk Hout, director of the Oddar Meanchey provincial hospital, said that an investigation launched on November 3 by a committee of provincial maternity experts found that hospital staff had done everything in their power to save her.

“She had serious lung inflammation and was having difficulty breathing and coughing blood. We could have transferred her to Siem Reap hospital but it would have been difficult to save her due to a lack of emergency equipment in the ambulance,” he said.

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