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Parents sue hospital over death of 2-year-old son following surgery

16 Comments

The parents of a two-year-old boy who died after undergoing surgery at Tokyo Women’s Medical University Hospital in 2014, have filed a malpractice suit against the hospital.

The parents filed the suit in the Tokyo District Court against four anesthesiologists who administered the anesthetic, and are seeking damages of 180 million yen, Fuji TV reported.

The boy was given a powerful anesthetic known as propofol following his surgery, despite the fact that the drug has been banned for use with children.

Although the parents have already sued the two doctors who were in charge of the surgery, a new lawsuit was filed on Tuesday against the four anesthesiologists and nurses over the wrongful death of their child.

The boy was given a steady dose of anesthesia and pain killers after he underwent neck surgery, and was put on a ventilator in intensive care for observation. However, three days later, the boy suddenly died after suffering an unexpected acute cardiovascular failure.

Hospital officials said propofol, which was administered to the child, was most likely the cause of death.

According to the official propofol use instructions, the drug is not supposed to be administered to patients in intensive care who are relying on artificial respiration units, or to children younger than 14.

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The boy was given a powerful anesthetic known as propofol following his surgery, despite the fact that the drug has been banned for use with children.

I think we need a bit more info here. Why did this happen? Was the container mislabeled? Did they not know? How did they make such an awful mistake?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Those poor parents. I'm not a big fan of suing but in this case, it sounds like they have very good reasons to because all involved were negligent.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

very sad. rip

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Same stuff that killed Michael Jackson. So sad.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The boy was given a powerful anesthetic known as propofol following his surgery, despite the fact that the drug has been banned for use with children.

'Following' as in 'after' surgery? If so, it doesn't make sense. Propofol is used before/during surgery and is one of the most common agent used by anaesthetists, they know everything about it. It's also used on infants before/during MRI. And 4 anaesthetists, really (plus anaesthetic nurses apparently)? Dunno about japan but in the west you usually get one consultant and one registrar (if you're lucky) plus 1 anaesthetic nurse. It's unthinkable that 4-5 anaesthetists would make the same error with a drug such as propofol ( basically paracetamol of anaesthetics)

Imo this could be either a drug mix up/ mislabelling and/or a nurse or registrar did something without telling the consultant resulting in double/over-dose. Or maybe something wrong with the drug itself (was it properly registered, not expired etc?)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Too many chiefs and not enough Indians?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Overseas, propofol is used in children, in ER, Surgery and short term in ICU; there are many peer-reviewed papers on its use in PubMed, and it possesses many advantages compared to ketamine and midazolam, the common alternatives.

But there are some cautions: Facilities for continuous monitoring of heart rate and oxygen saturation must be available; Personnel in attendance must be expert in securing and maintaining an airway in children, including by use of endotracheal intubation; There must be adequate facilities to recover the patient after the procedure, including monitoring as described above; and The drug should be given slowly with close attention to oxygenation, level of consciousness and blood pressure.

From PubMed (PMCID: PMC2791557) A potentially fatal complication known as ‘propofol infusion syndrome’ has been described in critically ill children given long term propofol infusion, the syndrome being characterized by the development of severe metabolic acidosis and rhabdomyolysis associated with hepatomegaly, lipemia, myocardial failure and hyperkalemia.

This syndrome appears to occur primarily with long term propofol use in critically ill children who often have serious underlying pathology or are being treated with multiple drugs that may alter propofol metabolism, rather than with the use of propofol for brief procedural sedation.

Although propofol is being blamed, it could be multiple factors that have caused the deaths.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

How does this happen? Did no one know what the hell they were doing?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

And 4 anaesthetists, really

The article says the anesthetic was administered after surgery in a steady dose. If it was administered over time, it's likely that a different anaesthetist was in charge at different times, not all together.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This is a medical school related facility, so if there are 4 anesthetists, most likely 3 of them are medical students/internists.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Same stuff that killed Michael Jackson. So sad.

So fricking what? It's totally asinine to bring him up in the discussion of a BABY being killed by doctors.

This is a medical school related facility, so if there are 4 anesthetists, most likely 3 of them are medical students/internists

.Which means that there are also oversight issues and possible criminal negligence as well. Hopefully the cops will investigate, if the parents file a complaint.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

SenseNotSoCommonFEB. 15, 2017 - 03:01PM JST

Too many chiefs and not enough Indians?

Too much speculation and not enough facts?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

... times of administration is moot at this point. The child was 2 years old... administration under 14 is not recommended. Can't these idiots read?... This is ignorance, and nothing more. As diverse as this team effort is... there is only ONE surgeon responsible.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Typical here when doctors and other professionals graduate uni because of rich parents and not because they achieved the acquired academical marks.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

As diverse as this team effort is... there is only ONE surgeon responsible.

Quite so! I have had surgery here a number of times for different reasons, and I can not recall anyone, nurse, anesthetist, attending physician, anyone, giving me any medication, of any type, without the approval of the surgeon first.

That lasted for a few weeks after the surgery as well, until I was passed back to the care of the doctor who looked after me in the first place.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Goldorak and wanderlust - Interesting posts. I wonder if there could have been drug interactions coming into play in this case.

Poor kid and poor parents! Very sad

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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