Japan woman dies after 8 hospitals turn her away


TOKYO — A woman in Japan suffering a brain haemorrhage while about to give birth died after being turned away by eight hospitals, prompting anger over Japan’s strained medical system.

Ageing Japan has a shortage of doctors and emergency services. The number of obstetricians in particular has fallen, and concerns over medical malpractice suits and long working hours have increased.

Eight hospitals in Tokyo refused to take in the 36-year-old woman earlier this month, citing reasons such as not having enough doctors, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said on Wednesday.

An hour later, one hospital agreed to take her and carried out a Caesarean section and an operation on her brain.

But the woman died three days later, Tokyo said.

“This is a big problem,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura told a news conference.

“We need to know why this happened, find out the reasons, and take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening again,” he said.

Last year, the health minister vowed to tackle this issue after a woman refused by eight hospitals miscarried in an ambulance.

In 2006, a woman died after being turned away by 19 hospitals and falling unconscious during childbirth.