Roma mothers held in Slovak hospitals against their will

KEZMAROK, Slovakia (AP) — An Associated Press investigation has found that women and their newborns in Slovakia are often illegally detained in hospitals across the country.

Slovakia’s Ministry of Health recommends four-day stays for mothers and babies, regardless of their health. Many hospitals — seeking insurance reimbursements — have turned that into a mandate.

When Monika Krcova didn’t want to obey those guidelines after her third baby, she simply escaped. During the delivery of her first two children, Krcova was slapped in the face and held for four days, leaving the Roma woman to endure racist taunts from hospital staffers. Krcova said hospitals treat Roma “like dogs.”

Numerous other women told the AP they were similarly beaten by doctors and nurses.

A spokeswoman at one Slovak hospital acknowledged “sometimes there are cases like that.”