3 Vietnam infants die in botched philanthropic surgery

Thanh Nien News

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The family of Pi Nang Tuan Huu sit by his bed at Khanh Hoa General Hospital where doctors rushed to save him from cardiac and respiratory decline on August 23, 2014. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre The family of Pi Nang Tuan Huu sit by his bed at Khanh Hoa General Hospital where doctors rushed to save him from cardiac and respiratory decline on August 23, 2014. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre

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An anesthesiologist working with a Hanoi charity may have caused the death of three infants over the weekend, according to records from the Khanh Hoa General Hospital in the coastal resort town of Nha Trang.
Nguyen Quang Minh, 14-months-old, Nguyen Ngoc Tuyet Van, 11-months-old and Pi Nang Tuan Huu, 16-monthsold, were among 11 children set to be operated on by doctors from the Center for Researching and Aiding Smile Operation (OSCA), an NGO registered with the Hanoi Department of Science and Technology, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.
The cosmetic surgeries were halted on Saturday morning after complications quickly arose at Military Hospital 87 in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa, home to Nha Trang.
Dr. Nguyen Ba Hanh, director of the hospital under the military’s medical department, told Tuoi Tre they had only provided operating rooms and equipment; OSCA's team was completely in control of the entire procedure -- from sedation to recovery.
Hanh said he was “startled” when the babies were rushed out of the facility soon after being taken in to be sedated.
Medical records noted that the three babies were all conscious and healthy before being the anesthesia was administered. Soon after that, their breathing became labored and their skin turned blue.
The three infants were variously rushed to Khanh Hoa General Hospital, where two quickly died.
Huu, the oldest of the three, held on until Monday morning.
Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Huy, deputy head of the Pediatrics Department at Khanh Hoa General Hospital, said Van was admitted at around 9:45 a.m. on Saturday in a “deep coma and almost brain dead."
“Her pupils were dilated; her blood pressure couldn’t be measured,” Huy said.
She died four hours later.
Huu was admitted to Khanh Hoa General one hour after Van.
He was immediately put on a respirator after suffering seizures evidently caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain. Special efforts to maintain his blood sugar and electrolyte levels and revive his liver and kidney functions failed to save him.
The other victim, Minh, was admitted  at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and died the next morning just as the provincial hospital staff was about to transfer him to Ho Chi Minh City at his family’s request.
Doctors described Minh as being in respiratory and cardiac decline, possibly caused by anaphylactic shock induced by the anesthesia.
Members of the Hanoi team had disappeared from the Khanh Hoa Military Hospital by Sunday afternoon.
Hanh said the charity has performed free cleft palate operations at his hospital once a year for three years now.
OSCA’s website (osca.org.vn) could not be accessed on Monday morning.

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