UK & World News
Woman Denied Help Gives Birth On Hospital Lawn
A photograph of an indigenous woman in Mexico taken as she gave birth outside a clinic where she was denied help has led to the suspension of the health centre's director.
Irma Lopez and her husband were turned away from the health centre by a nurse who said she was only eight months pregnant and "still not ready" to deliver.
But an hour-and-a-half later, her waters broke, and she gave birth to a son, her third child, on her own, as her husband pleaded with the nurse to call for help.
The 29-year-old said: "I didn't want to deliver like this. It was so ugly and with so much pain."
The photograph of her giving birth, her newborn still bound by the umbilical cord and lying on the ground, emerged in several newspapers, including the front cover of La Razon de Mexico, and was widely circulated on the internet.
It was taken by a witness to her ordeal at the Rural Health Centre in the village of San Felipe Jalapa de Diaz.
Mrs Lopez, who is of Mazatec ethnicity, and her husband had walked an hour to the clinic from the family's one-bedroom hut in the mountains of northern Oaxaca.
She was eventually taken in by the clinic after giving birth and discharged the same day with prescriptions for medicine and products that cost her about £19, she said.
"I am naming him Salvador," said Mrs Lopez, which means saviour in English. "He really saved himself."
Authorities in the southern Mexican state have now suspended the health centre's director, Dr Adrian Cruz, and launched an investigation into the incident, which happened on October 2.
The case has pointed to the persistent discrimination against Mexico's indigenous people, and the shortcomings of its health care system.
Hundreds of women still die during or right after pregnancy.
Mayra Morales, Oaxaca's representative for the national Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, said: "The photo is giving visibility to a wider structural problem that occurs within indigenous communities.
"Women are not receiving proper care. They are not being offered quality health services, not even a humane treatment."
Nearly one in five women in the state of Oaxaca gave birth in a place that was not a hospital or a clinic in 2011, according to Mexico's census.