What if you were turned away from a hospital or clinic right before you were about the give birth? And what if the next medical center was miles away? For one indigenous Mexican woman, that's exactly the situation she found herself in last week. How'd she handle it? Well, she followed the nurses' instructions to walk around, but half an hour later, her water broke and she gave birth to a baby boy on a lawn in front of the clinic.
Irma Lopez, 29, and resident of the state of Oaxaca, told the Associated Press that she was denied a bed at the health center because a nurse said she was "still not ready" to deliver. But, after having birthed two children previously, she knew her body well and could tell she needed help.
Fortunately, the case hasn't gone unnoticed by the media or government officials—thanks to a photo taken by a witness of Lopez after she gave birth made it into numerous publications in Mexico. The Oaxaca government has suspended the health center's director and there will be a state and federal investigation into how something like this could have happened.
But this event isn't a one-time occurrence; in 2011 one in five women in Oaxaca gave birth somewhere other than a hospital or clinic. Considering that Lopez and her husband walked for an hour from their remote mountain home to get to the clinic, it's understandable. Add to that the fact that clinic hours are limited and staffs are small.
For now, this story has a happy ending: Lopez and her husband have a new baby boy, Salvador, who is reportedly doing well.