Portugal’s Health Minister Marta Temido has stepped down after an Indian pregnant tourist died of a cardiac arrest on Saturday. The incident has sparked an outrage on the closure of emergency obstetric services in the Portuguese capital Lisbon. Temido had sometime back ordered for a complete closure of emergency health services on weekends.
What actually happened ?
- A 34-year-old Indian pregnant lady died of a cardiac arrest in Portugal’s capital, Lisbon after she was turned away from a maternity ward in Santa Maria Hospital.
- The neonatal unit was full and had no vaccines available due to which she was transferred between different hospitals of the capital leading to her death.
- Following the incident, the Health minister Dr. Temido resigned.
- According to a statement by the government, “She no longer had the conditions to remain in office”
Public outrage in the capital
- Portugal has been facing with an acute healthcare crisis
- The Health minister had temporarily closed emergency obstetric services of the hospitals especially during weekends.
- The decision was taken due to the shortage of doctors and nurses
- After the closure, maternity wards had been overflowing with patients and long queues at these units could be seen.
- Hospitals lack specialists in gynaecology and obstetrics, which has forced the government to consider hiring staff from abroad
- The stepping down of the health minister has also met with criticism as health scenario could deteriorate further in absence of a minister
Investigations in the case
- The opposition parties have requested for an investigation in this death case
- Alarmingly, this is the third case of negligence by the country’s healthcare system this summer
- Such similar incidents of government failure has happened in the past where,
- Two infants succumbed to death after their mothers could not get timely medical assistance and a precious time was lost in the long queues at the hospitals.
- Maternal deaths in the country have reached all time high presently when compared with last four decades
- The healthcare sector needs reform and strict monitoring on part of the Portuguese government.
Contrary to the present healthcare failure of the government, Dr. Temido was however credited for successfully handling the vaccine rollout in the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.