Inquiry finds irregularities at hospital where pregnant woman died

Wojciech Pacewicz/PAP

An inspection carried out by the National Health Fund (NFZ) into the death of a woman who died from pregnancy complications found numerous irregularities in the organisation, implementation and quality of patient services at the hospital that treated her.

The hospital, located in the southern town of Pszczyna, has been fined almost PLN 650,000 (EUR 140,063).

In September, the 30-year-old woman had died from septic shock in her 22nd week of pregnancy. Doctors did not perform an abortion, even though her foetus was lacking amniotic fluid.

NFZ president Filip Nowak said during a press conference on Wednesday at which the results of the investigation were presented that "unfortunately, the provision of services left much to be desired… including, unfortunately, in the area of medical procedures."

He added that placing a fine on the hospital "does not change that fact that a tragedy with irreversible consequences has occurred."

The results of the inspection will also be forwarded to the prosecutor's office, which is investigating the matter.

In a statement issued shortly after the death, the hospital said that its staff had done everything it could to save the life of the pregnant woman.

However, the family of the deceased woman believed that her doctors adopted a "wait-and-see" attitude which, they say, led to a delay in terminating the pregnancy and contributed to her death.

When the woman's case was made public, it triggered protests in several large Polish cities.

Reproductive rights activists said that she was the first person to die as a result of a recent tightening of Poland's abortion law.

A ruling by the Constitutional Tribunal on October 22, last year, outlawed pregnancy terminations for foetal abnormalities, virtually the only type of abortion then performed in the country.

Abortions of pregnancies resulting from rape and those threatening the life of women are still formally legal.