Croatian MP speaks out about traumatic miscarriage procedure

At a recent parliamentary session, MP Ivana Ninčević Lesandrić shared her experience with Croatia's gynecological care system. Her story encouraged other women to come out and reveal their bad experiences in Croatian hospitals. 

Lidija Pisker
Lidija Pisker NewsMavens, Balkans
Croatian MP speaks out about traumatic miscarriage procedure - NewsMavens
Ivana Ninčević Lesandrić, YouTube

Why this story matters:

Croatian MP Ninčević Lesandrić says her miscarriage and curettage treatment were agony. In parliament, she described how doctors tied her hands and legs and didn't give her any type of anesthesia, which she felt was extremely painful and humiliating. Parliament Chairman Goran Jandroković responded by complaining that he was being put in "an uncomfortable situation,"  by which he meant that Ninčević Lesandrić should not have shared her experience.

"That was the 30 most painful minutes of my life," she said.

"You are sharing an intimate thing," Jandroković responded. 

Croatia is not used to hearing about the details of women's reproductive organs, let alone painful stories of the disrespect and humiliation which -- according to numerous testimonies -- happen very often in hospitals. 

But this time, when Ninčević Lesandrić stood up to speak, other women started speaking too, sparking a debate about the quality of Croatian healthcare services for women and promises for investigations of reported cases. 

It seems that sometimes, there's no other way but to put an "intimate thing" -- such as a miscarriage and scraping of your uterus -- out in the open until it makes the men in power "so uncomfortable" that they actually do something about it. 

Details from the story:

  • Croatian MP Ivana Ninčević Lesandrić shared her experience of having a curettage (a surgical procedure involving the scraping of the uterine wall) in a hospital in the Croatian city of Split when she began suffering a spontaneous miscarriage. 
  • Her story was backed up by numerous testimonies from other women across Croatia who said they didn't receive adequate care and support during their miscarriages or childbirths. They shared these stories through their social media accounts using the #prekinimosutnju hashtag ("Stop the silence" in English) or during media interviews. 
  • The management of the hospital where Ninčević Lesandrić was treated denied the curettage was conducted without the use of anesthesia. The hospital's head claimed that Ninčević Lesandrić's statement (and later interviews for media) were politically motivated. 
  • Parents' associations and women's groups argue that the problem of maltreatment of women is long-lasting and widespread in Croatian healthcare institutions, which they have been pointing out for many years now. 
  • Due to the reactions of the public and the media, healthcare governments said they will look into the issue. 
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