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Nineteen hospitals affiliated with state-run universities padded bills for patient meals they reported in fiscal 1999, officials with the government’s Board of Audit said Sunday.

They said around 130 million yen was misappropriated in budgets at 19 of the 30 hospitals the board investigated in the year ending March 31, 2000.

The board has warned the hospitals not to repeat such misappropriations.

The largest misuse, about 31 million yen, was reported at a hospital affiliated with Kyoto University, with the next largest, about 20 million yen, by one affiliated with the University of Tokyo, they said.

In bills submitted to health insurance companies, the hospitals would typically claim and collect payment for more specially prepared meals than they actually served.

Patients with ailments such as diabetes require specially prepared meals that cost 2,470 yen per patient per day, or 350 yen more than regular meals. At some of the hospitals, the meals are prepared by public foundations run by former hospital staff.

Patient deprived of air

KOFU, Yamanashi Pref. (Kyodo) A male patient in his 50s lapsed into a vegetative state in August when a doctor took too much time before reattaching his breathing tube at a public hospital in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi Prefecture, it was learned Saturday.

The Fujiyoshida City Hospital did not report the accident to the city office for more than two months, city officials said.

The man was admitted to the hospital in late July after suffering a neck bone injury during a swimming accident.

The tube, which was inserted into his trachea because he had trouble breathing, came off Aug. 1 when a radiologist moved his body to take an X-ray, the officials said.

A physician took about eight minutes to attach the tube again, which is believed to have deprived the patient of oxygen and resulted in brain damage, they said.

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