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Bad water suspectedly linked to dialysis deaths: council

Update: June, 08/2017 - 22:00
Heads of Hà Nội’s Bạch Mai Hospital discharge patients who were treated for poisoning caused by faulty dialysis in Hòa Bình Province. Poor water quality used in dialysis machines might have led to eight deaths in the case. — Photo tuoitre.vn
Viet Nam News

HÒA BÌNH — Poor water quality used in dialysis machines might have led to eight deaths in the largest fatal medical incident in Việt Nam, the Hòa Bình Province Department of Health announced on Thursday.

The incident took place on May 29, when seven of the 18 patients undergoing dialysis at Hòa Bình hospital displayed symptoms of anaphylactic shock and died soon after. Another patient from the same group died on June 4 after multiple organ failure, raising the death count to eight.

The department deputy director Bùi Thu Hằng told the press that a specialised medical council, specifically set up to study the case, held a closed meeting on Thursday morning to look into the cause of the tragic deaths.     

The council, she said, believes that all the victims suffered acute poisoning syndrome with symptoms of multiple organ failures in the respiratory and circulatory systems as well as the liver and the kidney.

The poisoning was uniformly caused by a single source, according to the council.

“At the moment, the specialised council lacks conclusive scientific evidence to surely determine the true cause of the incident, as the water and medicine test results and autopsy reports are yet to come out,” Hằng said.

“However, the specialised council thinks that there was very likely an abnormality in the reverse osmosis water system during the dialysis treatment for patients at the Hòa Bình General Hospital.”

The reverse osmosis system, shortly known as RO, is used to purify water for dialysis process.

Hòa Bình health department director Trần Quang Khánh also told the press that the company in charge of maintenance for the dialysis machines in Hòa Bình hospital failed to test the water before letting the dialysis run again.

The Thiên Sơn company, according to Khánh, performed a maintenance on the RO system on May 28, just one day before the incident occurred.

“After the service, the company didn’t test the output water quality but allowed the machines to resume operation for the patients,” he said.

On Thursday, Hòa Bình hospital director Trương Quý Dương and another two hospital employees were suspended from work for 15 days to assist the investigation into the case. — VNS

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