Vietnam police probe girl's death after sedated exam at hospital

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Phan Thi Nho, the mother of Vo Phan Kim Thanh, being carried at Thu Duc hospital in Ho Chi Minh City June 22 after she passed out upon hearing that her daughter had died. Photo courtesy of Tuoi Tre

Police in Ho Chi Minh City are investigating the case of a 10-year-old girl who died after receiving an endoscopy at a public hospital on Saturday.

The police are working with the five doctors who were directly in charge of the scan to identify the cause of Vo Phan Kim Thanh's death Saturday evening. The girl had been admitted to Thu Duc District Hospital earlier that morning, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.

An autopsy has been scheduled.

Doctor Nguyen Minh Quan, the hospital's director, said doctors and nurses had followed every protocol correctly.

But Thanh's family suspected that Thanh's death resulted from the girl having been sedated despite having a heart condition, which they say the hospital knew about.

Medical research has showed that risks of cardiac and/or pulmonary complications resulting from endoscopic ultrasound scans can arise due to the sedative used.

But Quan said there was nothing wrong with sedating the girl and that it is a necessary step for any endoscopic exam.

The girl died around 30 minutes after the procedure, after suffering from an irregular heartbeat.

Quan said doctors at the hospital had ordered the endoscopy after diagnosing Thanh with stomach bleeding. She was vomiting blood and had low blood pressure when she was admitted.

Vo Thanh Viet, the girl's 36-year-old father, said he took his daughter to the hospital around 3 a.m. after she failed to keep down water and had been vomiting continuously.

But she had become stable by the morning, Viet said.

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