Portuguese health minister resigns after pregnant Indian tourist dies

Marta Temido, who had served as Portugal’s health minister since 2018, had resigned from her post. Her decision came after the death of a pregnant Indian tourist who was denied medical help due to an overflowing maternity ward.

The deceased, 34, was being transferred from Lisbon’s main hospital, Santa Maria, as her neonatology unit was full, but she suffered cardiac arrest in the ambulance. The woman was 31 weeks pregnant and had been admitted after beginning to suffer from shortness of breath. After suffering cardiac arrest, she was admitted to a second hospital where an emergency caesarean section was performed and the newborn was admitted to the neonatal care unit.

Many of Temido’s critics blamed the minister’s decision to temporarily shut down emergency obstetrics services due to a lack of doctors for the tragedy. In recent months there have been many such incidents reported in the country, caused by a lack of access to emergency health care.

The Portuguese Minister of Health resigns: a long decision to make?

Recently, two infants died due to a delay caused when their mothers had to change hospitals. The opposition party had also called Temido and pointed out that pregnant women had no choice but to wait long hours due to the overflow of maternity wards, caused by the closure of neonatology services.

Suggested Reading: Should Pregnant Women Ask for Privileges Like Seats on Public Transportation?

Following the death of the pregnant tourist, Marta Temido had “realized” that she no longer had the conditions to remain in office, according to the government of Portugal.

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa thanked Temido for his services as health minister in a tweet, writing“I am grateful for all the work done by Dr. Marta Temido, especially in the exceptional period of the fight against the #COVID19 pandemic. The @govpt continues the ongoing reforms with a view to strengthening the #SNS and improving the health care provided to the Portuguese.

Who is Marta Temido?

Marta Temido was appointed Portugal’s health minister in 2018. She had received nationwide praise for her role in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent rollout of the vaccine. A member of the center-left Socialist Party, Temido’s popularity ratings suffered when the country began to experience a shortage of health care providers, particularly in the department of gynecology and obstetrics.


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