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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Man accuses doctors of negligence in his pregnant wife's death

Man accuses doctors of negligence in his pregnant wife's death

THE husband of a woman who died during childbirth at the National Maternal and Child Health Centre on Saturday claims doctors did not give her proper care despite the fact he paid the hospital the regulation fee to deliver her child.

San Theoun, 32, said he sent his wife, Uy Resmey, 41, to the hospital at 11am on Friday to give birth to her child, but that doctors were "careless" to prevent her death from birthing complications the next day.

"I paid US$75.60 to the hospital to deliver my child, but the doctors were careless," he said.

"I would not have blamed them if I did not give them money, but I gave all that they needed in order to save my wife and child."

Recurring problem

San Theoun said health officers put his wife in bed and gave her an IV drip, but that no doctor was willing to perform the necessary operations to prevent her death.

"If I have a new wife, I will not send her to that hospital because I'm afraid she would also leave me," he added.

Uy Resmey's death follows the death of a pregnant woman at Pailin Referral Hospital on March 16. The husband of the woman claims she was denied emergency obstetric care because she was unable to pay a $25 fee to hospital staff.

But health officials said that in the majority of cases, doctors tried their best to help people in need of medical treatment.

"People often blame or call for punishments for doctors or midwives when they have problems with health care," said an official from the Ministry of Health's Midwives' Association, who declined to be named. "They see only our bad actions."

Prak Somaly, deputy director of the technical office at the centre, said Tuesday that the cause of Uy Resmey's death was not clear, but that doctors had tried to save her life.

"She had a serious health problem and came to our hospital for help. But when we could not save her life, they said we were bad and did not properly look after her," she said.

She added that doctors had a duty to their patients and did not want to see anyone die, whether they were poor or not.

"I don't agree with people who say that doctors think money is more important than patients' lives," she said.

"We are not kings of devils that have the right to let someone die."

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