• Kyodo

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Showa University Fujigaoka Hospital in Yokohama admitted Friday that the death of a 40-year-old woman who underwent laparoscopic surgery at its hospital in 2001 may have been the result of malpractice.

“There is a strong possibility that we may have perforated her sigmoid colon while controlling the laparoscope, and her postoperative care was inadequate,” the hospital’s director, Seiji Suzuki, told a news conference.

Akemi Kawauchi of Machida in Tokyo died a 1 1/2 months after she underwent surgery on Nov. 5, 2001, to remove uterine tumors.

Her husband, Yasuhiro, plans to sue the hospital.

The hospital said the perforation in her sigmoid colon caused peritonitis, which led to multiple organ failure and death.

Kawauchi’s death certificate, however, says she died of illness or natural causes, according to her husband.

“We deeply regret and apologize to the bereaved family,” the hospital’s director said.

In October 2002, a 29-year-old woman died following an allegedly botched laparoscopic operation to remove a kidney tumor at the hospital. Police have launched a criminal probe, suspecting her death was also the result of professional negligence.

The hospital has denied any of possibility of malpractice in this case.

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