Portugal's health minister resigns after pregnant Indian tourist dies
Marta Temido, Portugal's Health Minister, resigned after realising she "no longer had the conditions to continue in office." Opposition parties and municipalities have criticised the minister for forcing pregnant women to make dangerous trips to distant hospitals.
Portugal's Health Minister, Marta Temido, resigned on Tuesday after receiving harsh criticism for her decision to temporarily shut down the emergency obstetric services, which required unsafe transfers of pregnant patients between hospitals.
According to the statement by the health minister, Temido decided to resign because she "realised she no longer had the conditions to remain in office." Five hours after learning of the death of a pregnant woman in Lisbon, she announced her resignation.
According to a separate statement, Antonio Costa, the prime minister, announced that he had accepted Temido's resignation and commended her for her work, which included planning a successful COVID-19 immunisation campaign. Due to a shortage of doctors over the summer break, the government shut down emergency obstetric services, especially on weekends.
Opposition parties and municipalities have slammed the minister for forcing pregnant women to make dangerous trips to distant hospitals.
Due to a shortage of openings in the neonatology service, a pregnant Indian woman who had been transferred on Tuesday from Hospital de Santa Maria to Hospital Sao Francisco Xavier died on Saturday.
Per media reports, a cardiorespiratory arrest occurred during the trip, and resuscitation work was performed on the transport.
According to Centro Hospitalar Universitario Lisboa Norte (CHULN), the pregnant woman was "subject to an immediate caesarean section, with the newborn weighing 722 gram, moving to the neonatal critical care unit for prematurity."
"The mother was hospitalised in intensive care and died," the CHULN said, sending "our heartfelt condolences to the family."
Marta Temido will serve in office until a successor is appointed. The Ministerial Council must approve the successor on September 15. However, the presentation can be predicted.
State Secretaries Antonio Lacerda Sales and Maria de Fatima Fonseca have also left the Ministry of Health.
Temido was appointed health minister in October 2018 and, according to opinion polls, was among the most popular government members last year due to the success of the vaccination campaign.
However, her star has recently faded due to staffing and other issues at many public hospitals, and thousands of doctors presenting the so-called refusal of responsibility, citing poor working conditions and extreme fatigue.