Clarification of three infants’ death after free cleft lip surgery in Nha Trang

Concerning to the deaths of three infants after charity cleft lip and palate operations at the Military Hospital No. 87 in Nha Trang in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa, the Ministry's Department of Medical Examination and Treatment has ordered a clarification of the cause.

The Ministry's Department of Medical Examination and Treatment August 25 sent its urgent dispatch to the Medical Department, under the Defense Ministry; the Department of Health in Khanh Hoa Province, the Military Hospital No. 87 and the Center for Researching and Aiding Smile Operation (OSCA), a Hanoi-based non-governmental charity, asking to report on the deaths of three infants after anesthetization for free cleft lip surgery.

Luong Ngoc Khue, head of the Ministry's Department of Medical Examination and Treatment, said that the department was informed the news of three children's deaths on August 23.

The Department ordered the Department of Health in Khanh Hoa Province to carry out investigation and issue harsh penalties on individuals and organizations and the provincial Department of Health must suspend the operation activities of the Center for Researching and Aiding Smile Operation.

In addition, operation procedure and medical workers’ skill must be re-checked. Hospital managers should visit families of three infants and explain the cause of the deaths to them. A scientific council will be set up to find out the cause of the deaths and take the conclusion in public.

Earlier, the Center for Researching and Aiding Smile Operation in coordination with the Military Hospital No. 87 conducted a charity cleft lip and palate operations in Khanh Hoa Province.

Nguyen Ngoc Tuyet Van, an 12-month-old baby girl, in Dien Khanh District in Khanh Hoa Province; Nguyen Quang Minh, a 14-month-old baby boy of south-central Khanh Hoa Province’s Nha Trang City; and 16 month old infant Pi Nang Tuan Huu from Khanh Vinh District died in the Province’s General Hospital after they had been transferred from the Military Hospital No. 87 on August 23 for emergency aid.

Doctors of the province’s General Hospital said that infant Tuyet Van died due to breathing failure on August 23 and Quang Minh died due to breathing failure also caused by anaphylactic shock with the anesthetic on August 24. Infant Tuan Huu died on August 25.

Investigation revealed that 11 infants were anesthetized for charity operation on August 23, infants Van and Huu experienced anaphylactic shock with the anesthetic soon while Minh developed the anaphylactic shock with the anesthetic after the surgery. Currently all containers of medications are sealed as evidence for further investigation. The charity operation was asked to stop.

The program is carried gratis for all children and the Military Hospital provides operation room while medical experts from the Center for Researching and Aiding Smile Operation conduct surgeries.

This is the first time three infants died in a charity program. The Military Hospital No. 87 and the Center for Researching and Aiding Smile Operation carried out operations for over 80 children in 2009.

By Nguyen Quoc – Translated by Uyen Phuong

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