Serbia: Romani mother says obstetrician broke one of her ribs, racially insulted and threatened her during labor, causing her baby to die

Outrage and protests have been sparked in Serbia by the case of an obstetrician who allegedly threatened a Romani mother in labor with violence and caused her baby to die. The mother, Marica Mihajlović, has described her shocking experience on Facebook.

An autopsy of the Romani baby has confirmed her death was caused by the violent delivery. The obstetrician has been arrested and faces charges.

The young Romani woman was received in hospital in Sremská Mitrovica on 11 January 2024 after seven days in labor. A gynecologist informed her that she could not deliver naturally and planned a Caesarean delivery for that afternoon.

The obstetrician, however, did not come to the hospital until the evening and decided to attempt vaginal birth even though the child was too large. “The time passed and the doctor had still not arrived. He did not come until 18:20 and decided to induce labor the natural way. However, the nurses told me that the situation had not changed and that a C-section was necessary for me to deliver,” Mihajlović described in her Facebook post of 18 January.

Mihajlović alleges that when the doctor did arrive, he ignored her request for an operation, insulting her in racist terms and threatening to beat her face. “They’re giving me oxygen so I can breathe. I am asking the doctor for a C-section, but he does nothing but insult me. I beg and beg him for a C-section to save the child. At that moment, he beats me and squeezes my jaw. He threatens to split my skull in two, to crush my head. He makes racist insults. When he sees the baby cannot be born, he halts my labor and starts giving me narcotics and cutting me,” she described.

The doctor then pushed on the woman’s belly so forcefully that he broke one of her ribs. She lost consciousness because she was unable to breathe.

Baby Elenka was suffocated during the delivery by her own amniotic fluid and was born without any signs of life. While the doctors did manage to revive her heartbeat, she died the next day.

“The baby was healthy, I got regular checkups during my pregnancy. The monster who is responsible for the death of my child could have saved her, but he didn’t want to,” alleges Mihajlović, adding that she is neither the first nor the last woman in labor to whom this has happened under that doctor’s supervision.

“The midwives told me I have all of their support and that the other women in the delivery room with me will also testify on my behalf,” Mihajlović has posted. Romani news server Novosti reported on Monday that an autopsy has confirmed the death of Elenka was caused by her violent birth.



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