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Protests erupt in Poland as woman dies after hospital refuses to remove dead fetus

BMJ 2022; 376 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o250 (Published 28 January 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;376:o250
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

Women’s rights activists in Poland took to the streets to protest a woman’s death in hospital after doctors refused to remove a dead fetus, despite pleading from the family, allegedly citing the country’s strict anti-abortion law and saying that its twin could still be saved.

The woman, identified only as Agnieszka T, died on 25 January at Blachownia Hospital, leaving a husband and three children. She was aged 37 and in the first trimester of pregnancy.

But it is the Blessed Virgin Mary Provincial Hospital in the nearby city of Częstochowa, from which she was transferred in critical condition hours before her death after a month long stay, that bears the brunt of the family’s allegations. She spent a week there in early December, after she developed symptoms of vomiting and stomach ache. But she was discharged, the family said, after doctors told her that pain was normal in a pregnancy with twins. She then returned in worse condition on 21 December.

On 23 December one of the fetal heartbeats …

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