National

Prosecutors given malpractice case

Kyodo

Police in Tochigi Prefecture sent to prosecutors Monday their case on two medical professionals suspected of professional negligence that resulted in the death of a 69-year-old female patient at Dokkyo University School of Medicine Hospital.

According to investigators, the suspects are a 41-year-old male doctor who was in charge of the patient and a 32-year-old female testing technician.

The incident occurred May 10, 2001, when the tube of an artificial respirator to which the patient had been connected came loose, police said. The patient died of respiratory failure.

Police said the tube detached when the technician adjusted the patient’s bed so she could lie flat for an electrocardiogram. Meanwhile, the patient’s doctor — despite having been alerted to the situation — left matters to another doctor and had to be summoned twice before coming to treat his patient, investigators said.

Police said the technician’s failure to speak with nurses before taking charge of the patient, coupled with the doctor’s failure to swiftly reinsert the tube, which others on hand were not adequately trained to do, had probably led to the patient’s death.

Investigators said the pair have admitted to these allegations. Both resigned from the hospital after the incident came to light.

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