Two hospitals in China’s locked-down city of Xi’an, including one that refused to treat an eight-month pregnant woman who later miscarried, have been closed while they “rectify” mistakes, authorities said on Thursday (Jan 13).
The historic city, one of several in China experiencing coronavirus outbreaks, has been subject to strict home confinement for three weeks in line with Beijing’s “zero-Covid” strategy.
Top health officials were forced to apologise last week after a distressing social media post – including photos and video of the woman sitting on a plastic stool outside Gaoxin Hospital in a pool of blood – prompted outrage over the megacity’s harsh imposition of the rules.
She was refused treatment because her negative COVID-19 test fell slightly outside the 48-hour requirement.
In a separate incident at the second hospital, a Xi’an resident said her father had died last week after he could not get medical treatment for a heart ailment due to “pandemic-related rules”.
Both hospitals have been given warnings and made to “suspend operations for three months for rectification”, and will only be allowed to reopen after getting approval.
The city’s health commission said in a statement on Thursday that the two hospitals had “failed to perform their duties of saving lives and rescuing the wounded”.
“This led to delays in the rescue, diagnosis and treatment of critically ill patients, arousing widespread public attention and having a bad social impact,” health authorities added.
Gaoxin Hospital has been told to suspend its general manager and dismiss several staff members, and the second hospital to sack its chairman, suspend its deputy chief and remove the head nurse of its outpatient department.
The local government has faced widespread criticism over its handling of the crisis, with many residents complaining they have had no access to food and daily supplies after being told they could not leave their homes.
Cases have begun to slow in Xi’an in recent days, with only six reported on Thursday.
Since Dec 9, there have been more than 2,000 domestic infections in the city.