The ethics committee of the Cyprus medical association is awaiting the results of a police investigation into the death of a woman during childbirth, its president Michalis Anastasiades said on Monday.

The woman died on Thursday, a day after giving birth to her second child, at a Nicosia private maternity clinic.

During the delivery, the woman reportedly experienced complications and bleeding. After saving the child, the doctors deemed it necessary to transfer the mother immediately to another private hospital for a blood transfusion, but she died before the transfusion could be carried out.

Cases of criminal medical negligence are rare, Anastasiades emphasised and a few isolated incidents have been confirmed in the past three years, though more complaints are received and passed on to the police.

It remains to be determined whether the doctors in charge in this case, one a of a “well-known but difficult” complication, were negligent in their duties, or failed to follow the set protocols in place for such cases, Anastasiades said. If the latter, disciplinary action will be undertaken if necessary.

The president declined to give further information, other than stating that the committee itself does not have the legal authority to intervene directly in the case, beyond offering medical expertise when requested by police to do so.

A proposal by the medical ethics committee is underway for alteration to the current legal framework, which would allow more immediate involvement, Anastasiades said.

The deceased woman’s relatives lodged a complaint with the police and the health ministry last week, and Nicosia CID are investigating the circumstances that led to the woman’s death.

An autopsy is expected to be carried out.