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The 'Missing' Baby: Uzbek Woman Says She Delivered Triplets But Hospital Only Gave Her Twins

Farida Ghozieva with her newborn twin girls. She believes she also gave birth to a third child.
Farida Ghozieva with her newborn twin girls. She believes she also gave birth to a third child.

Farida Ghozieva believes she gave birth to triplets shortly after she was admitted to a state-run maternity hospital in Uzbekistan's eastern Ferghana Province earlier this month.

But Ghozieva says the hospital gave her "only two newborns" to take home and accuses the medics of lying about the fate of her "third baby."

The doctors, however, insist there never was a third baby in the mother's womb.

The hospital administration told RFE/RL that the 28-year-old Ferghana resident delivered two baby girls by cesarean section on July 4.

The mother and the hospital administration might soon face each other in court over whether she gave birth to triplets or twins.

Ghozieva's claim is not an allegation coming from nowhere. She was told throughout her pregnancy by prenatal specialists that she would have three babies.

The mother says she had a total of 21 visits to prenatal centers to monitor the development of her pregnancy.

In addition to state-run medical facilities, Ghozieva also visited private clinics to get a second and even third opinion about her pregnancy.

The woman says during all her visits the specialists concluded that there were three fetuses inside her.

Ghozieva provided several medical documents, including letters with descriptions of three separate ultrasounds performed by the private clinics MTD, Tabib, and Asl Shifo Medical in her native Ferghana city.

The letters -- signed by officials at the medical facilities -- provide detailed descriptions, such as head measurements and the heartbeats of three fetuses.

"The last prenatal ultrasound took place on July 2 during which doctors told me that the three babies had normal heartbeats," Ghozieva told RFE/RL.

"Two days later, I underwent the cesarean section at the Ferghana Regional Maternity Hospital and [I was told] I gave birth to twins. The hospital told me there never was a third baby," she said on July 22.

'Mistakes Can Happen'

Citing an unnamed nurse at the Ferghana hospital, the mother says she was told by that nurse that there was a third baby -- a boy -- who apparently died during the surgery. Ghozieva says the conversation with the nurse was on July 7.

Contacted by RFE/RL on July 22, hospital chief Madhiya Suyarqulova maintained that Ghozieva had been pregnant with twins and gave birth to two babies. Suyarqulova said that ultrasounds are not always accurate and reliable.

"Mistakes can happen during ultrasound examinations," she said.

"We spoke to the ultrasound specialists who told Ghozieva she was expecting triplets. They all acknowledged their mistakes," Suyarqulova said.

It's not unheard of that a prenatal ultrasound can indeed be erroneous, depending on the position of the fetuses in the womb, the skill of the specialist performing the job, or the quality of the machine, among other variables.

"Making one or two mistakes I'd understand, but mistakes during all 21 visits to doctors is hard to believe," says Muhabbat Mirzoeva, Ghozieva's mother.

Ghozieva's other children: twin girls, Fotima and Zuhro, and son, Jamoliddin.
Ghozieva's other children: twin girls, Fotima and Zuhro, and son, Jamoliddin.

Ghozieva has since brought the baby girls home. The housewife and her husband, Javohir, were already parents to five-year-old twin girls, Fotima and Zuhro, and a two-year-old son, Jamoliddin.

Ghozieva is desperate to find out what happened to the "other baby" she had expected for nine months and had even chosen a name for.

On July 15, the couple filed an official complaint with the Ferghana prosecutor's office, accusing the maternity hospital of hiding the truth from the mother.

"Four days later, we asked the prosecutor's office about the probe, but -- citing the coronavirus pandemic -- they told us to come back in 15 days," Ghozieva said.

The mother fears that "all the evidence will be destroyed" before the probe even begins.

The prosecutor's office confirmed to RFE/RL that it has begun the investigation.

Written by Farangis Najibullah based on reporting by Khurmat Babadjanov, a correspondent with RFE/RL's Uzbek Service

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