Inside the Blood-Drenched Maternity Center

The 109th police precinct blocked the streets near the maternity center for the investigation. (Photo by Jerry Cao via World Journal)

[The stabbing spree in a Flushing maternity center on the morning of Sept. 21 shocked New Yorkers. A story in the World Journal the following day revealed how the center operated and how the attacker, who was an employee, worked hard there.]

After the bloodshed took place in the maternity center, a Chinese mother who used the services two years ago after she delivered her baby shared with World Journal her experience of staying in the center. She said she stayed in a comfortable one-bedroom. Yu Fen Wang, the employee who was arrested for the attacks, was there to take care of her baby then. Wang was hardworking and experienced.

The mother said when she joined the center, Wang’s daughter-in-law also had just given birth to a baby. But Wang didn’t take a day off to take care of her daughter-in-law at home. “Other mothers who stayed in the center also liked Wang quite a lot,” the mother said. “I even recommended this center to my friends.” She said she was shocked by the incident and hopes the wounded babies recover quickly.

Another person with knowledge of the center said Wang worked there 12 hours per day. Her job is to take care of the babies, change their diapers and take notes on their activities. The person said the owner of the center is from Fuzhou, and most of the employees are from the same area. The clients are mainly maternity tourists from China, and some are locals.

Mr. Liang, a resident on Long Island whose wife has spent the month after labor in maternity centers in Flushing twice before, said that at some centers, one employee has to take care of several babies. Sometimes they are overwhelmed and some babies are neglected. He has witnessed clients and employees physically fighting because of this. “Women often have fluctuating moods after labor, and they all want their babies to be paid full attention,” said Liang.

Ms. Qiu, a mother of three, said she has used maternity centers before because she didn’t want to put too much pressure on her family, and also wanted to have a good rest and recovery after giving birth. She said the maternity centers place mothers and babies in different bedrooms. Staff members take care of the babies and only bring them to the mothers at their request.

Qiu said sometimes a staff member has to take care of five to eight babies. They’d feed one with each hand and rock a cradle with their feet at the same time. Sometimes the mothers would take over and feed their baby themselves.

A person in the business of maternity services said the quality of carers at different maternity centers varies a lot. Some of them don’t have medical and nutrition training at all. They take care of babies all from experience. Other than feeding them and changing diapers, the carers are not able to provide any maternity health care to mothers and babies.

Some maternity centers hire licensed nurses as their carers. They are trained professionals who know well the needs of their clients, and are able to catch abnormalities and solve problems in time. They also provide maternity knowledge to the new moms.

The person said at some maternity centers, a carer is only assigned to take care of one mother and baby pair. But other centers may only have one or two carers to take care of all the babies. At these centers, babies are often left crying by themselves. This is a common scene at the low-cost maternity centers.

The residence Wang and her husband rent in Flushing. (Photo by Lan Mu via World Journal)

[In a story from Sept. 23, World Journal reporter Lan Mu talked to the husband of Yu Fen Wang. Here is an excerpt.]

Wang’s husband told the World Journal on Sept. 22 at their home at the intersection of Cherry Avenue and Main Street that the last time he saw his wife was 8 p.m. on Sept. 20. “That was the time when she was leaving for work,” he said. The husband said Wang acted normally then. He was told about the incident by a neighbor who saw it online. “I didn’t pay much attention until the police announced the name of the suspect.”

The husband said he was very surprised and upset. He was not able to contact his wife yet, didn’t know how to visit her, and didn’t have a lawyer. He didn’t know what to do, and didn’t know what consequences a conviction may bring to his wife.

The husband said both he and his wife, to whom he has been married for more than 30 years, came to the U.S. six years ago from Changle County, Fuzhou, China. He has some problems in his legs and feet so his wife was the only breadwinner of the household.

He said his wife is an introverted person who never initiated an argument with others. Recently, she frequently complained that her work tired her out. He worried that she might have depression. “I told her if the job is too tiring she can quit,” the husband said.

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