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Respirator failure leads to patient’s death

Date Posted: 2002-03-24

A loosened oxygen tube of a respirator lead to the patient’s death at the prefectural Hokubu Hospital in Nago City on March 19. A nurse noticed that the patient had stopped breathing and alerted a doctor, but the patient had already died. At a press briefing organized after the incident, Masato Yamashiro, the chairman of the Hokubu Hospital said the hospital was conducting an investigation. Nago Police are also investigating.

According to Yamashiro, the hospital staff checked the patient every 30 minutes. “We did not notice anything unusual when the patient was checked 30 minutes earlier. Normally, if the oxygen tube becomes loose, an alarm should ring, but somehow it did not ring this time,” Yamashiro said. He also said that three other patients who were in the same room did not notice anything unusual either. Investigators said that the life time of such and respirator is generally considered to be five years, but the machine in question is seven years old. They also found that the hospital had failed to do the required annual check-up and maintenance of the machine.

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