Mothers who just had babies leap to deaths

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 September, 2007, 12:00am

Two women who gave birth recently leapt to their deaths yesterday, one in Yau Ma Tei and the other in Ta Kwu Ling.

Chung Po-ling, 36, who gave birth a few days ago, jumped from the roof of a high-rise block of flats in Nathan Road, Yau Ma Tei, at 9.25am after a check-up at Kwong Wah Hospital.

She was declared dead at the scene by paramedics. She lived with her husband in Choi Hung.

At 10.20am, Chan Chi-ying, 28, who had delivered her baby about a month ago, leapt from the roof of a three-storey house in Ping Che Road, Ta Kwu Ling.

The woman's mother said she heard a loud bang and discovered her daughter lying outside the house. She then called police.

Chan was taken to North District Hospital, where doctors declared her dead at 11.05am. Police said they had been told the woman had been unhappy after giving birth.

No suicide note was found in either case. A police spokeswoman said neither investigation had uncovered anything suspicious, but post-natal depression was a possibility.

Choi Kin, chairman of the Medical Association, said many women suffered from post-natal blues within 48 hours of giving birth. Most recovered, but for some the problem lingered.

'But 1 to 2 per cent of mothers can suffer from post-natal depression with a risk of suicide.'

The women might feel sad and cry for no particular reason, feel tired, have trouble sleeping, lose interest in many things and be unable to concentrate.

Dr Choi said: 'About six in 1,000 women suffer post-natal psychosis so badly they could kill themselves and their babies. They have to be admitted to hospital for treatment.'

He said that family support was important for sufferers of post-natal depression.

'After a woman gives birth her family members, including her husband, should pay more attention to her. If there are warning signs, her family members should immediately take her to a doctor.'

The Hong Kong Medical Association has previously warned that 1 per cent of women could suffer very severe post-natal depression, with a higher risk of suicide.

Last November, a 31-year-old woman who had given birth 11 days before jumped to her death from the window of her ninth-floor flat in Ko Chun Court, Lam Tin, while her husband was in bed asleep. Police said she feared she would not be able to take care of the baby.

In September 2004, a woman suffering from post-natal depression leapt to her death with her four-month-old son from a public housing block in Fanling.

The numbers for suicide hotline are: Samaritans (multilingual) 2896 0000, and Samaritan Befrienders (Cantonese) 2389 2222.