Police are investigating the death of a 5-year-old boy at a hospital in Katsushika Ward, Tokyo, on suspicion of professional negligence, it was learned Sunday.
Riki Toyoda died of intestinal obstruction after being left untreated for 2 1/2 hours at Tobu Chiiki Hospital in early March, hospital sources said.
“(Toyoda’s) symptoms were subsiding when he was hospitalized, and so we didn’t think he was seriously ill,” hospital spokesman Masaru Yoshida said. “The doctor’s visit was delayed due to a spate of patients requiring urgent care.”
On March 9, a 32-year-old doctor examined Riki around 4:30 a.m. at the hospital after the boy was brought in complaining of a stomachache. Riki then went home but returned and was hospitalized at around 11 a.m. after the same doctor took an X-ray and administered an intravenous drip and an enema, according to the sources.
The doctor then asked a colleague on the day shift to take over the boy’s treatment, but he failed to show the colleague the X-ray, the sources said.
The boy’s condition worsened and he began vomiting around 1:30 p.m. The colleague began heart massage and other treatments, but Riki died shortly after 4 p.m., they said.
The hospital reported the incident to local police later that day, the sources said.
Hospital director Kenzo Suzuki issued a statement in which he apologized to Riki’s family and pledged to review the hospital’s operations.
Tobu Chiiki Hospital was launched in July 1990 by a public corporation under the auspices of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
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