• Kyodo


A doctor accused of performing unlawful euthanasia at Kawasaki Kyodo Hospital in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1998 gave three shots of sedatives to a comatose male patient but wrote that they did not have any effect, medical records show.

The doctor then administered a muscle relaxant to the 58-year-old patient, who died shortly afterward, according to the medical records made public by the city of Kawasaki on Monday, after officials inspected the hospital.

“It is questionable to administer sedatives, which reduce breathing, to a patient having respiratory difficulty,” a municipal official said.

The hospital said medical records show no other cases of the doctor in question administering muscle relaxants to patients who died in the past five years, the period when the doctor worked at the hospital.

According to the records, the doctor, whose name was not provided, first administered 80 mg of the sedative Dormicum, then another 50 mg of the same drug, and 20 mg of Cercine, another sedative. After that, she injected 12 mg of the muscle relaxant Mioblock, according to the records.

“The 130 mg of Dormicum alone is lethal,” the municipal official said. “For sedative purposes, 10 mg to 20 mg is the normal dosage.”

The doctor administered the shots when the patient was having difficulty breathing after she removed a tracheal tube from him on Nov. 16, 1998, according to the records.

The records say his family had asked for the tube to be removed, but the man’s eldest son denies having expressed such a wish.

The Kawasaki government said, “Even if asked, it is something the doctor should refuse if (she) judges it to be dangerous.”

The doctor quit the hospital in February.

Police have begun a full investigation of the case, which the hospital has admitted to having kept under wraps.

The patient was brought to the hospital after suffering heart and respiratory failure following an asthma attack on his way home from work, the hospital said. Though his heart function recovered, he remained in a coma and needed the tracheal tube to breathe, it said.

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