Four people are in critical condition due to gas poisoning after they slept in a closed room with a charcoal stove which burned all night, doctors at a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City said Friday.
The patients included a 19-year-old man, his 20-year-old wife and her mother and aunt, both 38, according to the doctors at Nguyen Tri Phuong Hospital.
They were all unconscious when being admitted to the hospital on Friday morning. Despite the doctors' efforts, they were still in critical condition at press time.
According to their relatives, the couple, who live in Binh Chanh Dist., just lost their premature baby on Thursday.
That night they and the wife's mother and aunt slept in the same air-conditioned room
They burned charcoal in a stove in the room, since it is a tradition belief that doing so during the first postnatal weeks will keep women and newborns strong and healthy.
Their relatives found them lying motionless when they entered the room at 6 a.m. Friday, and rushed them to the hospital.
Doctor Phan Van Nghiem, vice director of Nguyen Tri Phuong Hospital, warned against the practice of using charcoal burners to warm mothers and newborns, saying that it can emit poisonous gases such as SO2, NO2 and CO that can cause respiratory inflammation or deadly suffocation in a closed room.
This is not the first time the practice has resulted in tragic outcomes.
The incident has been reported to local police for further investigation.