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Portugal Health Minister Marta Temido Quits After Pregnant Indian Tourist Dies

A pregnant Indian tourist died in Portugal after suffering a cardiac arrest in transit.
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  • Namrata Ganguly
  • Editorial
Published -01 Sep 2022, 17:30 ISTUpdated -01 Sep 2022, 17:48 IST
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Marta Temido, Portugal’s health minister resigned on August 30, 2022, after facing widespread criticism for her decision to temporarily close emergency obstetric services. Her resignation came hours after a pregnant tourist died from cardiac arrest. 

According to local media reports, the 34-year-old woman was being transferred from one hospital to another in Lisbon due to the non-availability of beds when she suffered cardiac arrest. As per the Centro Hospitalar Universitário Lisboa Norte (CHULN), at the Sao Francisco Xavier Hospital, where the woman was being transferred, she was “submitted to urgent caesarean section, with the newborn (weighing 722 grams) going to the neonatal intensive care unit for prematurity.”

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The reason behind closing the emergency obstetric services, especially on weekends, was the lack of doctors in hospitals during the summer holidays. However, her decision was criticised by opposition parties and municipalities as this meant pregnant women would have to make risky trips to far away hospitals. 

Portugal's Prime Minister, Antonio Costa, had taken to Twitter to mention that he was “grateful” to Temido for all her “exceptional” work during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I am grateful for all the work carried out by Dr. Marta Temido, especially in the exceptional period of combating the #COVID19 pandemic. The @govpt continue the ongoing reforms with a view to strengthening the #SNS and improving healthcare provided to the Portuguese,” he wrote.

In the official website of the Presidency of The Republic, a press note titled “Note of the intention of the Minister of Health to cease her duties” was published on August 30. It said that the President of the Republic was awaiting the resignation request as well as the proposal for the appointment of a new holder, under the terms of article 133, paragraph h, of the Constitution.” 

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Temido had accepted the position of Health Minister in October 2018.  

As per Portugal’s National Public Broadcaster, RTP News, Temido said that she “no longer has the conditions” to exercise the position that she had accepted. However, Temido will remain in office until the successor for the position is chosen. While Secretaries of State Antonio Lacerda Sales and Maria de Fatima Fonseca also leave the Health Ministry.

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