Woman Bleeds to Death in Hospital, Day After Giving Birth

A 35-year-old woman from Isfiya died at a hospital in Haifa yesterday, a day after giving birth to her fifth child.

Even though Rania Kuntar had been bleeding for hours after giving birth at Bnei Zion Hospital on Tuesday, she was not supervised overnight. Yesterday morning, she was found dead in her bed in the maternity ward.

The hospital responded that the bleeding was normal, as were the results of tests conducted to test for blood loss.

The hospital also refused to provide the family with the findings of an initial autopsy or with Kuntar's medical file, and said they would be given to authorized parties only when a court order arrives.

Kuntar had had a benign growth in her uterus blood vessels, and had high blood pressure and abdominal pains during her pregnancy. Her family doctor put a written recommendation into her file that she give birth by Cesarean due to the growth.

"He wrote that a natural birth may result in massive, lethal bleeding," her husband Imad said.

On Tuesday morning, Kuntar began contractions and was taken to Bnei Zion Hospital. "I told my wife's doctor that she had high blood pressure and gave him the letters from the family doctor, including the recommendation of a Cesarean. The doctors told me she would have no problem with a natural birth and that everything would be fine," Imad said.

Indeed, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Nur-Asam.

However, "she was bleeding the whole day. The doctors took her to the gynecology ward, and they stopped the bleeding," Imad said. But a few hours later, she began bleeding again.

"At 9:30 P.M. I left her with the child, and two hours later she called me and complained she was still bleeding," Imad says.

He says she said she would ask the medical team there for treatment. This was the last time he talked to her.

According to the hospital's version of events, Rania underwent a routine checkup at midnight, and "everything was found to be in order." At 5 A.M., when the medical team passed through the ward on another routine check, Rania was found dead.

"My wife bled to death because the doctors were negligent. The hospital failed her, and someone was asleep on his watch and my wife died," Imad said.

The couple have five children, the oldest of whom is 15.

"There is no home without a mother," said their 11-year-old son Razi. "How could the hospital not watch over my mother for five hours, while she bled? Don't they know what a woman who has given birth is? Why didn't they check on her every 15 minutes?"