• Kyodo

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A woman in her 70s died Thursday at a Nagoya hospital after losing an excessive amount of blood because of a doctor’s error, hospital officials said Friday.

Hospital Director Kenjiro Kori acknowledged during a news conference that it was a case of malpractice and apologized to the patient’s family. He also pledged efforts to prevent a recurrence.

Police are investigating the incident at Nagoya City University Hospital in Mizuho Ward as a case of professional negligence resulting in death.

According to the hospital, the accident occurred as the woman, who was suffering from acute liver failure, was undergoing dialysis.

She was admitted to the hospital Tuesday after being transferred from a hospital in another prefecture. Her doctor inserted a catheter into a vein in her neck at around 10:35 a.m. Wednesday to begin the dialysis.

In the process, the doctor damaged three locations, including puncturing an artery under the woman’s collarbone. However, he mistakenly thought he had damaged blood vessels at the base of her neck, applied pressure on her neck and assumed he had stopped the bleeding, hospital officials said. He then continued the dialysis.

The patient started losing consciousness at around 8:30 p.m., and X-rays showed that blood had accumulated in her chest cavity due to the doctor’s error. Both her heart and lung functions deteriorated and she was transferred to intensive care.

Although she underwent an operation, she died at 5:07 p.m. Thursday.

“It was an extremely rare case, and (the doctor) never imagined that he had damaged the blood vessel under the collarbone,” Kori said.

“Had he realized what had happened, the death might have been prevented.”

The doctor has seven years of experience and is familiar with catheter insertions, according to the hospital.

Nagoya City University Hospital is an 800-bed general hospital and is one of only four hospitals in Aichi Prefecture that have been designated as an advanced treatment center by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

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