A picture of Irma Lopez, 29, giving birth on a lawn outside a medical clinic has gone viral around the globe.
The picture, taken by a passerby, shows Lopez squatting and grimacing as she gives birth to her newborn son with the umbilical cord attached on Oct. 2.
The Rural Health Center’s director Dr. Adrian Cruz was suspended while officials investigate the incident, which happened in San Felipe Jalapa de Diaz. The small village is located in the southern state of Oaxaca in Mexico.
Lopez was told by a nurse at the health clinic that she was only eight months pregnant and “still not ready” to give birth, noted the Daily Mail.
The nurse was not convinced that Lopez was going to go into labor, even though she was fully dilated.
According to the Associated Press, Lopez says the nurse told her to go outside and walk, and that a doctor would check on her the next day.
Lopez and her husband, Pacheco, are part of the indigenous Mazatecos tribe that does not speak Spanish, and went outside.
Less than two hours later, Lopez’s water broke and she gave birth to her third child, Salvador.
The clinic is now claiming the blame rests on the language barrier and a lack of staff.
“I didn’t want to deliver like this,” said Lopez. “It was so ugly and with so much pain.”
Lopez was alone when giving birth because her husband was desperately trying to get help from the nurses inside the clinic, only a few feet away.
An unrelated bystander, Eloy Lopez, took the photo, which was published in various Mexican newspapers and the web.
“The photo is giving visibility to a wider structural problem that occurs within indigenous communities, women are not receiving proper care,” said Mayra Morales, of the National Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights. “They are not being offered quality health services, not even a humane treatment.”