Families of dialysis disaster victims clash with hospital over compensation payments

By Nam Phuong   November 13, 2017 | 11:48 pm PT
Families of dialysis disaster victims clash with hospital over compensation payments
A patient is receiving treatment after suffering anaphylactic shock from dialysis at Hoa Binh Public Hospital in May. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
The hospital has offered compensation based on how old the victims were, and demanded funeral bills.

A Vietnamese public hospital has rejected compensation claims from the families of eight patients who died while undergoing dialysis treatment last May, prompting them to ask a court to rule on the matter.

The families have asked for VND250 million ($11,000) each for psychological damage and funeral costs, but the hospital has only offered to pay VND140-242 million depending on how old the victims were, and as long as the families provide bills for the funeral.

“It would be very hard for us to settle this payment without evidence,” said Le Xuan Hoang, deputy director of Hoa Binh Province’s health department who is now serving as director of the hospital following his predecessor's demotion in August.

But the families said the hospital’s requests are “unreasonable” and have dismissed its offer to pay compensation based on the victims’ physical conditions.

Both sides have consulted lawyers.

The hospital, 80 kilometers (50 miles) southwest of Hanoi, grabbed headlines in late May when the deadly dialysis incident shocked the entire nation.

Eight patients died after suffering nausea, abdominal pain and shortness of breath 45 minutes into the treatment. 10 other patients survived after being transferred to a bigger hospital in Hanoi.

A police investigation found that a high concentration of fluoride in the water used in the procedure was to blame. The director of a local health firm has been arrested pending manslaughter charges while some staff at the hospital are facing medical malpractice charges.

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