A health official has denied reports that a woman who died after giving birth by cesarean section was left on her own by doctors and nurses as she lay bleeding.
Qi Xianqiang, deputy director of Xiangtan county's health administrative bureau in Hunan province, said on Thursday that his organisation had examined the case.
The investigators concluded that Xiangtan County Hospital for Mothers and Children spared no effort to save the woman, who died of multiple organ failure caused by amniotic fluid embolism.
"The woman suffered from vomiting and choking after giving birth to a healthy baby boy by cesarean at noon on Sunday, and the hospital took proper measures to save her with emergency treatment," Qi said. "Unfortunately, the woman died at about 9:30 pm."
The woman's husband, Liu Qinan, said his 27-year-old wife, Zhang Yu, went to the hospital early in the morning to give birth, and doctors suggested she should have a cesarean as the foetus was large.
Liu said his wife underwent a number of physical examinations before the operation that showed her condition was normal.
"The baby was born without any problems after the operation started at 12:05 pm," he added. "But then the doctors told me at about 2 pm that my wife was in a dangerous condition with amniotic fluid embolism and was receiving emergency treatment."
Yang Jian, the hospital's deputy director, said the doctors and nurses made urgent efforts to save the woman. The hospital called in experts from other hospitals in the county and in Xiangtan to help.
Yang said members of the woman's family became angry and tried to enter the operating room after they heard the woman had died. To avoid conflict with them, the doctors and nurses stayed in an adjoining room.
Qi said the investigation by his bureau confirmed that the medical staff did not leave the bleeding women alone in the operating room and left only after she had died.
Liu, the husband, said he was furious because the hospital did not inform him of his wife's death. Instead he heard the news from the Party chief in his village.
"We were waiting right outside the operating room," he said.
Qi said, "The hospital reported the case to my bureau after the woman died instead of telling her family immediately because any case of maternal mortality is serious and they thought they should report it to the authority first."
The woman's relatives are seeking 1.2 million yuan ($195,000) compensation, but the hospital says it can pay only 500,000 yuan.
The county health authority is mediating between the hospital and the woman's family over the compensation claim.
The hospital is taking care of the baby, who the father says "is doing fine".