The family of a mainland Chinese mother who died after giving birth in a US hospital last year will be receiving US$5.2 million (HK$40.3 million) in compensation after a local court ruled that the doctor was negligent.

A court in Orange County, California awarded the victim’s family US$2 million on top of a US$3.2 million settlement paid by the Garden Grove Hospital, reported local outlet The Orange County Register on Tuesday.

The Orange County Register report showing the victim’s husband holding her picture. Photo: screencap.

The victim, 26-year-old Nie Ling, was abandoned in the intensive care unit by her doctor even though she had suffered massive bleeding following child birth in March, 2014, the court found.

Obstetrician Liu Long-dei went home and left Nie to the care of nurses after her bleeding stopped temporarily. When Liu came back, Nie’s situation had deteriorated significantly. She died a few days later.

Nie’s husband Hong Yuanda hailed the verdict as “justice”.

The couple went to southern California to give birth after researching online for high-quality maternity care in the US, the newspaper said.

‘Birth tourism’ surge
Tens of thousands of Chinese couples have gone to the US to give birth in recent years so that their children can enjoy educational, healthcare and other benefits of being US citizens. The trend has fueled so-called “birth tourism”, with maternity centres and agencies springing up in the US, particularly around California.

A scene from “Finding Mr. Right”, a 2013 Chinese film which tells the story of a woman who went to Seattle to give birth and found love there. Photo:

According to a report by the Huanqiu Magazine published by Xinhua news agency, the number of mainland Chinese mothers going to the US to give birth has seen a tenfold increase since 2007. The number was expected to reach 50,000 to 60,000 this year.

US federal authorities cracked down on dozens of operations catering to Chinese pregnant women in March this year, the Los Angeles Times reported.

In Hong Kong, the influx of mainland mothers giving birth in public and private hospitals prompted the government to issue a ban in 2012.

Vivienne Zeng

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.