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78-year-old woman dies after X-ray at hospital

29 Comments

A doctor mistakenly used a prohibited contrast agent while performing an X-ray of a female patient's spinal cord which led to the patient's unexpected death, hospital officials revealed Friday.

According to the National Center for Global Health and Medicine, on April 16, a 78-year-old woman was admitted to the hospital suffering from lower body pain. When receiving a contrast study X-ray of her spinal cord, the woman was injected with a prohibited contrast agent in her lower back and spine by a 29-year-old doctor.

TBS reported Saturday that following the X-ray, the patient began convulsing uncontrollably, and died shortly after.

Tokyo metropolitan police are conducting an investigation into the case to determine whether charges of professional negligence and medical malpractice should be filed.

Hospital officials said the woman doctor responsible was reportedly completely unaware that the contrast agent was not supposed to be injected into the spinal cord. Furthermore, she has said that she did not see the warning label detailing the product's use, before administering the agent into the patient.

The hospital offered both a formal apology to the bereaved family and a statement in which it said: "From now on, we will conduct double checks of all agents before procedures. We will also revise our management at the hospital to ensure this does not happen again."

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29 Comments
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"from now on"?????? this should be standard procedure.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Why does the hospital have the contrast agent it it is prohibited?

9 ( +11 / -2 )

another person's perspective from a outside source.

"I’ve been to a lot of different doctors and I think I have yet to find a good one. The problem with Japanese doctors is that they let you do all the talking! If you don’t tell them what you want, what you think you have and what kind of examination you want, they won’t do anything. In Germany (and I’m sure in most Western countries) you go to the doctor, tell them what is wrong with you and they will take care of the rest. I mean, THEY are the ones who studied medicine in university after all, right?? Not us!!!"

"In Japan, they leave it up to us patients who don’t know anything about medicine. Even some Japanese people I talked to about this topic said they don’t like that about the Japanese medical system."

ref: http://zoomingjapan.com/life-in-japan/hospitals-and-medical-care/

Does anyone recommend some hospitals in Tokyo?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

wontondApr. 19, 2014 - 03:50PM JST Why does the hospital have the contrast agent it it is prohibited?

The article is badly phrased. The contrast agent is prohibited for spinal x-rays, but is okay as a contrast agent for other uses, for example taken orally.

The article is so badly phrased that I'm also not sure whether the doctor prepared this dose and whether it was prepared by a nurse for her, whether it was the contrast the ordered or whether she had ordered a different one, whether the required warning label was present or not, etc. It is clear that procedure broke down somewhere here, but I'm not sure where. Also, saying the doctor's age is not terribly helpful, what is more important is how long she has been practicing and what her speciality is supposed to be. For example, a GP doing contrast spinal x-rays would be bloody awful stupid, but would cast light on the problem area (and raise questions about where the radiologist was).

This really is a shockingly badly written report.

25 ( +25 / -1 )

Shut up this is not a medieval society.

-13 ( +5 / -18 )

The hospital offered both a formal apology to the bereaved family and a statement

That:s not too comforting is it? How about paying for all funeral costs and compensation for wrongful death. Stupid hospitals think that a simple "I'm sorry" is going solve everything.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@ wontond - It's prohibited for use on the spinal chord, but it must be okay for other body parts.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

September 19th, 2013 UPDATE: An article published in the September issue of the Journal of Patient Safety estimates that there are between 210,000 and 400,000 deaths per year associated with medical errors in hospitals. That would make medical errors the third-leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Doctors sometimes make lethal mistakes. What a tragedy.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Unfortunately, I was given an injection for inducing the birth of our first son but the doctor hadn't verified first if I might be allergic to it. Luckily, he had only given me 1/4 of a "normal" dose but it nearly killed both of us... I try not to need doctors over here and usually wait 'till I go back to France on holiday.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

And why isn't the name of the hospital mentioned?

7 ( +9 / -3 )

It is mentioned.

Oops sorry about that, we will do better next time. Ok so who's next and what's your problem.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

RIP...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I try not to need doctors over here and usually wait 'till I go back to France on holiday.

So that one doctor represents all doctors in Japan? My child was born without a hitch and the doctor was excellent.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

And why isn't the name of the hospital mentioned?

@ben4short

It was the National Center for Global Health and Medicine, Center Hospital, (国立国際医療研究センター病院) located nearby Waseda University.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

One answer fits all situations for Japan.

This is most " regretable" but I'm sure they will " sincerely reflect on the situation", "collect all relevant information swiftly " and "take appropriate action speedily ", "to avoid public confusion" - like form an expert panel.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I'm not sure why this is national news. It's so frequent in the west as to barely register a mention, ever.

Greatly prefer the quality of medicine in Japan to my former home country.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Poor older woman! This woman could be anyone of our MOTHERS! Goes to this hospital for some routing X RAY to end up getting killed by the idiot, incompetent doctor! I hope she gets arrested. RIP older lady in messed up hospital

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

This kind of tragic thing happens everywhere, unfortunately. I've been back and forth to doctors and hospitals quite a bit with my 87-year-old mom (in the U.S.), and there have been several times that potentially life-threating mistakes have been made. A few examples:

*Drug allergies not listed correctly on the medical record.

*Sent home from hospital with I.V. needle and short tube still in her arm.

*Wrong medical record sent from doctor's office to hospital. (It was for a different patient.)

*Wrong drug treatment for suspected stroke almost given in the ER. (On follow up, her regular neurologist said it could have caused a massive stroke.)

All these happened at a well-known, well-respected hospital. It's very lucky that my mom was able to communicate with the doctors and nurses, or that I was there, in order to stop these mistakes from progressing too far. But, if she'd been unconscious or had had no patient advocate present, it could have ended very differently. Doctors/nurses are too busy, standard procedures are not followed, no one listens, careless mistakes by untrained staff - lots of areas need lots of improvement.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

That's rough.

I agree w/ Frungy, not clear.

Why is it necessary to mention "the doctor, a woman doctor, … " Would we say "the doctor, a man doctor, … "

Not relevant?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Hospital officials said the woman doctor responsible was reportedly completely unaware that the contrast agent was not supposed to be injected into the spinal cord. Furthermore, she has said that she did not see the warning label detailing the product’s use, before administering the agent into the patient.

I really don't think that excuse lets her off the hook.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Not to self: Never take a contrasting agent for an X-ray in a Japanese hospital without questioning it first!

This kind of rubbish should never happen in a modern hospital!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

THEY are the ones who studied medicine in university after all, right?? does not equal studying medicine

Are you implying that getting into a private med $chool in Japan somewhere equates to medical aptitude?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've had nothing be excellent experiences with hospitals in Tokyo, so I don't buy the usual chorus condemning the entire medical system in Japan. This article is about an unfortunate accident that will no doubt be investigated, especially regarding why the doctor did not read the label.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I think there are excellent doctors and hospitals/clinics in big cities in Japan versus countryside on average, and there is also horrifyingly bad medicine practiced here as well. Accidents happen but doctors should be responsible and knowledgeable to begin with. As a patient here I think it's a question of knowing our rights and doing whatever we can to be proactive, choose the right medical establishment and doctor, ask questions, say so if we question or want a second opinion, and refuse treatment/invasive procedures or tests when something doesn't feel right. This article is sloppy journalism, but this doctor sounds unqualified to do the x-ray she ordered or conducted--you don't inject anything into the spine, let alone the body, without checking if it's safe or not!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've just had a large brain tumor removed in a Japanese hospital and required many scans that used contrasting agents both before and after ten hours of surgery. I'm still in hospital now and my treatment has been outstandingly great. The key is to use a research hospital if it is major such as brain surgery. Medical mistakes happen regularly all over the world including a lot in my home country. The one good thing is that they get revealed instead of being covered up.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Been in a few accidents and have a recurring health issue. Have been in hospital plenty of times here. Overall, I find the treatment here very good. I could complain about a few things here and there but they seem tiny to some of the things that happen back home.

This was an an fortunate accident. They happen in every country.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Best of luck, Kiwi07!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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