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Hospital General, Juchitan, Oaxaca The hospital in Juchitan, Oaxaca, where the pregnant woman first ended up after 10 days of searching for a bed.

Pregnant woman’s 10-day quest for a hospital bed ends in her death

A baby also died after being turned away by Oaxaca Children's Hospital

Two deaths in Oaxaca this week came as the state appears to be facing a labor shortage in the healthcare sector.

A pregnant woman in Oaxaca who contracted COVID-19 died after spending 10 days searching for a hospital bed.

The woman from the Zapotec city of Juchitán, in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, tried to get help at a hospital for people not covered by social security and at other hospitals in Juchitán and in the nearby city of Ixtepec, but to no avail.

After 10 days of being turned away, she was admitted to the General Hospital of Juchitán. Due to her poor condition, she was transferred to the General Hospital of Ixtepec, where she was intubated, but could not be provided with an oxygen ventilator due to a shortage of supplies.

She was transferred again to a private clinic in Juchitán, where she died just an hour after being admitted.

Juchitán Mayor Emilio Montero did not name the woman, but expressed his dismay at the lack of staff and resources at hospitals, which he said did not have the capacity for another COVID-19 patient.

Mario Martínez Cortés and Eugenia Leandro Castelán
A couple who suffered a tragic loss due to a lack of hospital space were Mario Martínez and Eugenia Leandro Castelán, the parents of a deceased premature baby.

“The lack of hiring of almost 3,000 doctors and nurses in the state of Oaxaca is worsening the already difficult context that hospitals are operating in due to coronavirus infections,” he said.

In a forewarning, at the end of August, medical personnel from Juchitán protested in Mexico’s City’s central zócalo to demand indefinite contracts.

Meanwhile, a baby that was born prematurely in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec died after her mother was turned away by the Children’s Hospital in Oaxaca city. The social security hospital (IMSS) in the city of Matías Romero said the baby girl was born prematurely by cesarean section due to the mother’s high blood pressure which had put them both at risk.

The parents were informed of the need to transfer the newborn child to a neonatal intensive care unit, but they were told there was no availability.

The parents made a plea for support in a video Sunday after the Children’s Hospital said there was no room. Mario Martínez Cortés asked how it was possible that their baby should suffer the consequences of the government’s political problems.

The couple’s baby died the following day. “Unfortunately today, the newborn died of complications arising from her premature birth,” IMSS said.

Oaxaca’s health services agency dismissed 75 people — 30% of the workforce — at the Children’s Hospital, the newspaper El Universal reported last week. The agency said the employees had been contracted improperly and there wasn’t enough money in the budget to pay their salaries.

They were among at least 2,125 workers — 2,700 according to one report — laid off in Oaxaca since September 15.

With reports from El Universal and Sopitas

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