A 2-year-old child who died last February after undergoing an operation at the Tokyo Women’s Medical University Hospital is believed to have been given a sedative that is banned for children, according to the surgeons who operated on him. The child was originally declared to have died from normal causes but the surgeons believed this was not the whole story.
During a press conference on Thursday, the doctors disclosed that the anesthetist gave the child the tranquilizer propofol, which is a banned substance for children that are being supported by artificial respiration. According to the university dean Yuichi Takakuwa and the two surgeons Toshio Yoshihara and Naohito Yamaguchi, the boy was given the sedative for four days, without the knowledge of his family because the anesthetist believed it would help the child breathe properly while in intensive care by keeping his breathing tube in place. The doctor explained his actions to the hospital’s investigative panel previously, saying he thought the propofol would restrict the patient’s movements.
The doctors said they decided to come forward with their findings, after an autopsy was done and a study on other uses of propofol in the university was conducted, because the university chancellor and the hospital’s director did not respond to their request for accountability. The university hospital said that the news conference and the doctors did not represent their interpretation regarding the findings of their investigation. The study on propofol showed that 63 patients under the age of 15 were given the sedative between January 2009 and December 2013. There were no reported deaths, but it was also unclear if it caused any other serious problems with the patients. Propofol is the same sedative that is believed to have caused the death of international pop superstar Michael Jackson.
[ via Mainichi ]