Days after Prime Minister Hun Sen and Ministry of Health officials proclaimed safe births a national priority, a husband in Takeo province is claiming the provincial hospital gave insufficient blood and care to his wife, who died hours after giving birth on Friday.
Khat Heng, 27, said yesterday that when his wife, Soa Vibol, 24, continued bleeding after bearing twins via caesarean section, the hospital’s doctor told him he had to find relatives or others to supply blood for his wife.
“I could not find the blood in time to save my wife,” Heng said. “She passed away at the hospital.”
Heng said he showed hospital staff his card entitling his family to free medical care for the poor, but staff had not attended to Vibol after her operation and said they could not give her any blood beyond the amount used during the caesarean.
Takeo provincial hospital director Kiev Samros declined to comment, but representatives of the National Blood Transfusion Centre (NBTC) questioned Heng’s claims, saying that according to the hospital’s staff, Heng had not been asked to find blood for his wife.
Rather, said NBTC communications officer Michelle Milette, Heng had been asked to find donors to refill the hospital’s blood stock, which had been depleted when Vibol was given four units during her operation.
“The hospital requested the replacement donors only to maintain their stock,” Milette said hospital staff had told her.
Some donors contacted by Heng arrived at the hospital after Vibol had died, she said.
Milette was unable to say, however, whether or not Vibol had required more blood.
NPTC director Dr Hok Kim Cheng said all provincial hospitals stocked blood and would supply it in emergencies regardless of a family’s ability to find replacement donors.
Asking families to find replacement donors was important, however, because blood supplies were tight and only 30 per cent of donations came unsolicited, said Mardy Sek of the World Health Organization.
Patients’ families might not always understand this system, he added.
Chan Moa, chief of the family’s commune of Uddom Soriya, said that Heng, a migrant worker, felt unable care for his newborn twins following his wife’s death, and a wealthy couple has agreed to adopt them.