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Kimberly Turbin wasn’t expecting childbirth to be a pleasant experience, but she wasn’t expecting it to be a nightmare either.

On 4 May 2013, she was sitting on the couch at a friend’s house. They had plans to go out for seafood in San Pedro, next to the Los Angeles Harbor, and 27-year-old Turbin was relaxing in the living room while her friend took a shower. Then she felt something “pop” – her water had broken. Turbin rushed home to take a shower herself and grab her things before heading to the hospital. She arrived at the Providence Tarzana Medical Center in the San Fernando Valley around 5pm.

Turbin was insured through Medi-Cal, a state programme that offers free or low-cost health coverage for people with limited income. She had received prenatal care through a nonprofit community health centre called El Proyecto del Barrio, where nurses handled most of her appointments. The day before she went into labour, two weeks before her due date, she had first met Alex Abbassi, an obstetrician who worked with Providence Tarzana.

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Image: © Noa Snir

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