Italian government launching investigation after 5 pregnant women die in one week

Italian Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin. (EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

The Italian health ministry has ordered an investigation into why five women died in childbirth in just one week, an unexpectedly high number for a country with one of the world’s lowest mortality rates. According to World Bank data, Italy counted only four pregnancy-related deaths per 100,000 live births over the past five years. And while the five women, all between 7- and 9-months pregnant, appeared to have died from explicable causes, their deaths occurred between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, prompting speculation of whether hospital staffing could have been an issue. In the most recent case, Giovanna Lazzari, already a mother of two and 8-months pregnant, died on New Year’s Eve, one day short of her thirtieth birthday during an emergency caesarean at a hospital in Brescia. She had been admitted two days earlier suffering from a fever and symptoms of gastroenteritis. “Giovanna sent me a text message during the night in which she told me she had very strong pains but that the doctors were not paying any attention to her,” said her partner, Roberto Coppini. “In a few hours, I lost a baby and a unique mamma. Someone has to tell me what happened.” The hospital said that an early review indicated that no errors had been made by the doctors, and the woman died of a septic shock caused by haemorrhaging. Health minister Beatrice Lorenzin has sent out experts to ascertain what happened to Lazzari, as well as three of the other four cases in other hospitals. “[The task force] must ascertain if organisational faults contributed to the cause of deaths and if all the procedures to guarantee the quality and safety of care were respected,” the health ministry said in a statement. “The priority is identifying any errors and preventing other tragedies.” Their first report is due on Monday.

Read the full story at The Guardian and The Telegraph.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *