New mother dies of 'cardiac arrest' 2 days after delivery

Cause of death cannot be verified as the family refuses to allow an autopsy; new baby boy is the couple's first child.

A 31-year-old woman died Saturday two days after delivering a healthy baby boy at Hadassah-University Hospital in Jerusalem's Ein Kerem. Although hospital management said she died of "cardiac arrest," it could not be verified as the family - who are non-religious Jews from outside Jerusalem - refused to allow an autopsy. The hospital spokeswoman said such a tragedy was extremely rare and that the delivery was absolutely normal. The woman was smiling and happy and had gotten out of bed. Her condition was monitored like those of all other new mothers, and there was no sign of any problem, Hadassah said. But suddenly her condition took a turn for the worse, and she was taken to intensive care, where a whole team tried to revive her but failed. The boy is the couple's first child. The hospital informed the Health Ministry as required. The ministry asked for the medical file and will soon decide how to proceed, but as little evidence can be collected without an autopsy, no action will probably be taken. The family cannot sue for negligence without evidence from an autopsy. Most people in Israel, including the non-religious, refuse the autopsy of a loved one, leading to few being performed, even of crib death babies. It is mandatory only if there is suspicion of an unnatural death.