The parents of a 2-year-old boy who died a year ago after being sedated with the drug propofol are accusing the hospital staff of malpractice.
The boy, who underwent surgery at Tokyo Women’s Medical University Hospital in Shinjuku Ward to remove a lymphangioma, died in February 2014 of acute circulatory failure three days after he was put in the intensive care unit and given propofol intravenously for about 70 hours.
The parents filed a written accusation Thursday saying the medical team inflicted bodily injury resulting in death, as there was no justifiable reason to use such a large amount of the drug in their child’s treatment.
“We only want to know the real cause of our son’s death,” one of the parents told reporters during a news conference after submitting the letter of complaint to the Metropolitan Police Department.
According to an attorney representing the family, the police, who are currently investigating the case on suspicion of medical negligence resulting in death, said they will accept the accusation if there is enough evidence to pursue criminal charges.
The family claims that the doctors disregarded a warning that comes with the drug’s packaging that long-term sedation of children with propofol should be avoided, and that it was administered to their son for a long period without their consent.
The drug’s instructions warn that use on children under 15 carries a risk of cardiovascular collapse or other problems.
After the boy’s death, the hospital admitted to having used the drug on 63 children aged 14 or younger between 2008 and 2013, of whom 11 died during the treatment or within 30 days after leaving the ICU.
An independent panel asked by the hospital to investigate the cases concluded that a relation between the use of propofol and some of the deaths could not be denied.
The boy’s family said the outside panel did not verify why the dosage in their son’s treatment was so high.
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