New Delhi: Portugal’s health minister Marta Temido resigned from her post hours after an Indian woman died while being shifted between hospitals in Lisbon. The 34-year-old pregnant Indian tourist died after suffering a cardiac arrest during an ambulance transfer from Santa Maria hospital, which had no vacancies in the neonatology service, to another hospital in the capital, news agency Reuters reported.
Her baby was delivered following an emergency cesarean section and an investigation has been launched into the woman’s death.
Marta Temido, who has been credited with successfully handling the country’s vaccine rollout during the Covid-19 pandemic, faced heavy backlash for her decision to temporarily close emergency obstetric services over lack of doctors.
Prime Minister Antonio Costa said he had accepted her resignation and thanked Temido for her work and said the government would push ahead with reforms to strengthen the health infrastructure.
The prime minister said that the woman’s death was the ‘last straw’ that led to Temido’s resignation, as per Portugal’s Lusa news agency. Similar incidents were reported across Portugal in recent months, in which two infants died whose mothers had shifted between hospitals and suffered long delays.
The government said that Marta Temido had ‘realized that she no longer had the conditions to remain in office’. The health minister faced the wrath of opposition parties because pregnant women have to make risky trips to hospitals. Women had to wait for long hours as the shutting down of natal units led to overflowing maternity units.
Marta Temido, who became the health minister in 2018, was one of the most popular members of the center-left Socialist government during the COVID-19 pandemic, the opinion polls suggest.