4 premature infants die of septic shock at Vietnamese hospital: police

By Staff reporters   November 21, 2017 | 10:24 am GMT+7
4 premature infants die of septic shock at Vietnamese hospital: police
Family members stand around premature babies at Bac Ninh Obstetrics and Pediatrics Hospital. Photo by VnExpress/Nam Phuong

The newborns all died on the same morning, an incident the hospital’s director has described as ‘not unusual.’

Septic shock has been identified as the cause of four premature baby deaths at a leading public hospital in the northern province of Bac Ninh on Monday morning.

An initial investigation by the Ministry of Public Security based on the postmortems of two of the babies found they had died from a combination of septic shock and poor respiratory functions. The other two babies have been taken home for burial.

Further investigations are ongoing.

Septic shock is a life-threatening condition that occurs when there is a significant drop in blood pressure that can lead to respiratory or heart failure, stroke, failure of other organs, and death. It progresses when severe sepsis is left untreated.

The babies, two girls and two boys, were born prematurely between weeks 32 and 35 all suffering severe respiratory decline, according to doctors at Bac Ninh Obstetrics and Pediatrics Hospital, less than an hour northeast of Hanoi. Babies born before the 37th week of gestation are considered premature because parts of their bodies are underdeveloped, including the lungs, digestive system, immune system and skin.

All had been receiving intensive care at the hospital, with incubators, ventilators and intravenous lines. They were also given antibiotics.

They died between 2 a.m. and 9.30 a.m. on Monday, aged between three and 10 days old.

News of their deaths has been traumatizing for the families, and they have demanded a full investigation suspecting malpractice.

“We were so shocked,” said one grandmother, who said that her grandbaby had gained weight and been able to drink milk.

“If only our baby had died, it might have been normal. But when four of them died in just one morning, there must be something wrong,” she said.

One mother never got to see her baby while he was still alive. “I just heard him crying after I gave birth and then he was brought straight to the ICU,” she said.

The deaths have shocked and angered the public, especially after hospital director Le Van Nam said: “It’s not unusual for premature babies to die at the same time.”

Nam said his hospital is one of the largest in the province and cares for 90 premature babies at any one time.

“There have been days when five or seven babies have died,” he said.

On Thursday last week, a two-month-old baby died after receiving an antibiotic shot at the hospital. The medical team in charge has been suspended pending an investigation.

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