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On December 21, 2021, the 37-year-old Agnieszka was admitted to the regional hospital in Częstochowa. She was pregnant with twins. Two days later, doctors found that one of the fetuses was already dead, but decided not to remove it, believing that the other twin could still be saved. After Christmas - on December 29 - the second fetus died in the womb as well. On New Year's Eve, doctors decided to remove both fetuses. The woman, however, did not return home. Instead, she remained in the neurological ward (a statement issued on January 26 by the hospital fails to explain why). It later turned out that Agnieszka T. was infected with the coronavirus. In the night between January 24-25, she was taken in agony to the district hospital in Blachownia, near Częstochowa. She died there on the afternoon of January 25.

The case became national news after a dramatic appeal for justice was posted on social media on Wednesday, January 26 by the sister of the deceased woman. Agnieszka T. was admitted to the hospital with severe abdominal pain and nausea. She was in the first trimester of a twin pregnancy. "Previously, her complaints were ignored. The medical staff said it was a twin pregnancy and it had a right to hurt like that - claims the woman's sister.

"This is further proof that the ruling government has blood on its hands. Once again a pregnant, innocent young woman, mother and wife has died, leaving behind 3 children who did not live to see Mom come home. She wanted to live, no one expected such a turn of events. Who is the criminal subject at this point? Who is responsible for this harm? The hospital? The Constitutional Court? The deputies who voted for the anti-abortion law in Poland?" - the woman’s family wrote in their appeal.

The prosecution opens an investigation

The hospital denies accusations of negligence and medical errors.

The Regional Prosecutor's Office in Częstochowa has already reacted by initiating an investigation in the case. – First of all, the police secured medical documentation in three hospitals [the woman stayed earlier in a municipal hospital in Częstochowa for a few days – ed.]. An autopsy was also ordered, which will determine the direct cause of death - says the spokesman of the prosecutor's office Tomasz Ozimek.

After the decision to open an investigation, the husband of the deceased woman submitted a letter concerning Agnieszka’s death to the prosecution - it is a copy of a complaint to the Ombudsman for Patients' Rights. Although it is not a formal notification of a suspected crime, we include this letter in the proceedings initiated by us ex officio - informs prosecutor Ozimek.

Meanwhile, the case has already been handed over to prosecutors from Katowice. On Thursday, 26 January, a decision was made to transfer the proceedings from the District Prosecutor's Office in Częstochowa to the superior District Prosecutor's Office in Katowice.

Among other things, the Katowice prosecutor's office is investigating the circumstances of a similar case- the death of 30-year-old Izabela, who was brought to a hospital in Pszczyna in the 22nd week of pregnancy and died when doctors refused to terminate her fetus despite severe birth defects. Her death last fall ignited a wave of demonstrations across the country.

Reactions to Agnieszka’s death

Similar protests took place in cities all over Poland in reaction to Agnieszka’s death.

On Tuesday, activists from the Polish Women's Strike called for a gathering in front of the Constitutional Tribunal building in Warsaw.

A press conference in reaction to Agnieszka’s death was called by a group of MPs from the Civic Coalition.

- On November 3, here, in the Polish parliament, we asked why a young woman [Iza from Pszczyna, ed.] had to die, and why doctors were afraid to make decisions. We demanded legal interpretations so that such a situation would not happen again. And once again, the Polish state failed to act- said Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska.

- How many more such dramatic stories will we hear about until the minister provides doctors with a legal interpretation? Doctors want to treat women and women want to feel safe. For this to happen, you need a legal interpretation from the Minister of Health. Now, there is no point in delaying it – she added.

- This law is inhuman and we will change it once we’re in power. And today, Polish women must be saved immediately and we demand fundamental actions from the government - said Barbara Nowacka, a Civic Coalition MP.

Another press conference was organized by female members of the Left party.

- How could a woman be allowed to carry a dead fetus for seven days just because another fetus was still alive? - asked MP Wanda Nowicka (New Left), clearly upset. - Doctors in Poland are intimidated by the current government. Is it really so that women in Poland should be completely deprived of any help? This is a country that condemns pregnant women to death. We do not consent to this- she stated.

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Every day, 400 journalists at Gazeta Wyborcza write verified, fact-checked stories about Polish politics and society, keeping a critical eye on the ruling camp’s persistent assault on democratic values and the rule of law; the growing cultural tension between religious fundamentalism and human rights; and the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. Our journalists are on the front lines in 25 Polish cities, reporting from the streets, hospitals, and courtrooms about issues that move public opinion.

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