Deaths of five babies investigated

Five babies died in just two months at Lisbon’s Alfredo da Costa Maternity Hospital. An inquiry into the deaths has been launched by the Inspectorate General of Health (IGAS) and the Public Attorney.

The latest case, on August 12, involved newborn twins who died after several weeks under observation at the hospital. The mother is accusing the hospital of negligence.

Earlier in the month, a 37-year-old woman, pregnant with twins, died and the babies declared stillborn after being admitted to hospital with severe labour pains. She was five-and-a-half months pregnant.

In July, a seven months’ pregnant woman, 32, who was being assisted at the Alfredo da Costa hospital, had to be transferred to Santa Maria Hospital following complications at birth. Her baby girl died two days later. The grieving mother accuses the hospital of negligence and says it offers no conditions to care for mothers and their babies. “The lack of air conditioning units force mothers to take in their own cooling fans, thus promoting the spread of infections and viruses,” she said.

The Ministry of Health has been involved in a legal battle to close the Alfredo da Costa Maternity Hospital and transfer its services to D. Estefânia Hospital; however, last month judges at the Lisbon Administrative Court ruled against the closure.