Monday, 28 July 2014

Respectable doctor ran an illegal abortion clinic in Henan, now on the run after women died

by Michael Woodhead

A doctor working for the health department of  Nanyang city in Henan is a fugitive on the run after a 32-year old woman died at an illegal abortion clinic she was running as a sideline from a private apartment in the city.

In a story published in a local newspaper, the family of Ms Cui Hengjuan told of how she died after undergoing an abortion at the clinic run by a doctor who they trusted because she was an official at the local health department.

Ms Cui was the mother of a seven-year old girl and when she was almost three months pregnant with a second child she went to the private clinic run by a Dr Cui (no relation) for an ultrasound scan to determine the sex of the fetus. She trusted the clinic because Dr Cui was an official in the local health department, where she worked as a tuberculosis control officer in the Communicable Disease Centre. She also claimed to have run the clinic for 20 years, and told Ms Cui her experience meant she could offer reliable and safe sex determination and abortion services.

When the scan revealed the fetus was a girl, Ms Cui requested an abortion as her family wished for a baby boy. Dr Cui arranged for her to take medication to induce an abortion. Ms Cui went home but began to feel uneasy, so she returned to the clinic, where the doctor put her on a drip. However, Ms Cui felt worse and in the middle of the night she went into shock and stopped breathing.

The family were distraught and went to the health department and police station to complain. However, when they returned to the clinic they found that Dr Cui had slipped away and there were strangers taking the ultrasound equipment away.

According to the newspaper, a journalist went round to the illegal clinic and found only a locked apartment in a block opposite the maternity hospital, with nobody at home. The landlady knew a doctor had rented out the apartment but said she was not aware she was running a clinic on the premises. However, neighbours said the clinic was always busy with women coming and going, , especially on the weekend.

The journalist sought comment on the matter from the local health department, the director said they knew Dr Cui only as a doctor employed in disease control. They had no reports or knowledge of her running any private clinic. The health department said they had no idea of Dr Cui's whereabouts. When informed of the death of the woman, the health department said they would suspend Dr Cui pending an investigation into her clinic.

The police told the newspaper that they had opened a file on the case, but had been hampered because the family had refused to consent to an autopsy on the woman who had died. A spokesman for the police said they were seeking Dr Cui, but they currently did not know where she was.

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