China: Pregnant Woman Miscarries After Hospital in Locked-Down City Denies Care

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An eight-months-pregnant woman in central China’s Xi’an city suffered a miscarriage in recent days after a hospital denied urgent medical care because a Chinese coronavirus test result required for entry to the facility was expired by two hours, the news site SupChina reported on Wednesday.

Chinese state media have since confirmed the story.

The woman’s relative detailed the incident in a statement posted to Weibo, a Chinese microblogging site known as “Chinese Twitter,” on January 4. The tragic events unfolded on the evening of January 1 when the heavily pregnant woman “called an ambulance … after feeling intense pain in her abdomen,” according to SupChina, which translated the post from Mandarin to English.

“When she arrived at a hospital, she was denied emergency care because the validity of her latest COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] test had expired by two hours,” the statement read.

The pregnant woman’s husband pleaded with the hospital to allow his wife entry but the site’s staff “refused to budge, leaving the woman bleeding profusely outside the facility for two hours.”

“By the time the hospital changed its mind and finally took in the woman, she had waited for four hours and had already miscarried,” according to the account.

Chinese Communist Party officials ordered Xi’an — which is the provincial capital of Shaanxi — to enter a strict lockdown on December 23 to contain a surge in new Chinese coronavirus infections city-wide. The urban center’s 13 million residents remained under strict stay-at-home orders as of January 6. Xi’an health officials allege to have detected just 1,793 new coronavirus cases in Xi’an from December 9, 2021, to January 5, 2022, according to China’s state-run Global Times.

Shaanxi province’s health commission and women’s federation announced on January 5 the launch of a joint investigation into the events leading to the unidentified woman’s miscarriage on January 1. Some Xi’an Communist Party officials “have ordered community workers to gather information about pregnant women in their areas, and make sure that they have steady access to regular tests and urgent care,” Oriental Outlook — a Shanghai-based magazine affiliated with Xinhua, China’s official state-run press agency — reported on January 5.

The Information Office of the Xi’an Municipal People’s Government indirectly acknowledged the January 1 incident during a news briefing on January 5, according to the Global Times.

“[L]ocal authorities stressed that all hospitals must not use the excuse of epidemic prevention and control to avoid treating patients,” the press office warned.

“In addition, green passages should be set up for critical and severe patients, patients of hemodialysis, chemo and radiation, and women who are pregnant or giving birth,” Xi’an Communist Party officials advised.

The South China Morning Post reported on December 29 that Xi’an residents were running out of food less than one week into the city’s ongoing lockdown.

“I’m about to be starved to death. There’s no food, my housing compound won’t let me out, and I’m about to run out of instant noodles … please help!” read one Weibo post allegedly written by an anonymous Xi’an resident, as quoted by the newspaper.

“How do we live? What do we eat? Days ago, we could go out once to buy groceries but that’s been canceled. All online grocery apps are either sold out or beyond the delivery range,” another such blog post alleged.

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