Sun, Dec 01, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Injection victims recovering, say hospital officials

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Four out of the six babies who survived receiving the wrong injection at Taipei's Peicheng Hospital for Women and Children Friday are now able to breathe on their own, hospital sources said yesterday.

A baby died Friday after a nurse in the hospital mistakenly injected seven newborns with the muscle relaxant Atracurium rather than a hepatitis B vaccine.

The seven babies, all suffering breathing difficulties, were transferred to four hospitals for emergency treatment Friday night.

Far Eastern Memorial Hospital, at which one of the four babies sent to it died, said yesterday that the other three babies were in stable condition.

"Two babies can already breathe by themselves. The other baby still needs a ventilator, but doctors say her condition is stable now," said hospital spokesman Hong Wang-long (洪望瓏).

The baby sent to Taipei Medical University Hospital still requires assistance breathing, a hospital source said.

Reports said the two babies transferred to National Taiwan University Hospital and Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital were both able to breathe by themselves.

The nurse responsible for administering the injections said she is content to look back on the tragedy from behind bars.

"Just detain me. Let me think about the whole event in the detention center," Huang Ching-hui (黃靖惠) told prosecutors Friday.

Huang said she did notice that the containers of the vaccines she was to inject into the babies were different from those used for hepatitis B vaccines.

"I showed the containers to another nurse and asked her why the containers were different," Huang said.

"The nurse told me that the package of the vaccines may have been changed. After I injected one-and-a-half bottles of the vaccine into the babies, they started to show abnormal signs," she said.

Huang said she did not know why the muscle relaxant Atracurium would appear in the basket where hepatitis B vaccines were usually placed.

According to investigators, Atracurium had been placed in the basket for hepatitis B vaccines without any signs noting the difference.

Peicheng Hospital Director Hsu Mu-chan (徐木泉) insisted the mishap was entirely due to the nurse's mistake.

The Department of Health (DOH) has formed a task force to investigate the tragedy.

Huang Fu-yuan (黃富源), vice superintendent of Mackay Memorial Hospital, leads the task force. "My biggest concern now is whether these six babies will suffer cerebral palsy," Huang said.

Meanwhile, a woman died of amniotic fluid embolism shortly after giving birth in the Peicheng Hospital Friday night. Her frustrated family accused the hospital of negligence.

Hsu Keng-yao (許耕耀), the woman's husband, said his wife received an anesthetic at 8:10am Friday. "However, the doctor rushed out because the baby injection mishap had taken place," Hsu said.

"My wife had been kept waiting until 2:45pm, when she received her second dose of anesthetic. My daughter was born about 3:30pm," Hsu Keng-yao said.

"But the hospital suddenly informed me my wife needed to be transferred to another hospital at 8pm. At 10pm she died at the Far Eastern Hospital," Hsu Keng-yao said.

Hsu Mu-chan said the tragedy was not the result of hospital negligence.

Acting head of the DOH Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲) visited the six babies in hospital and the parents of the dead baby yesterday.

Twu said the department would seriously consider shutting down the hospital.

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