Hospital death sent to coroner

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 February, 2008, 12:00am

A 37-year-old woman died in October after suffering uncontrolled bleeding after giving birth at Prince of Wales Hospital, it was revealed yesterday.

A hospital spokesman said last night it could not respond to media questions about why the incident was only now being revealed.

The local woman delivered the baby at about 9pm on October 13. Forceps were used during delivery 'as there was difficulty in delivery of the fetal shoulder'.

But the woman suffered a sudden drop in blood pressure, bleeding and failure of her uterus to contract.

When the bleeding stopped doctors performed an emergency hysterectomy. The woman died four days later.

The case has been referred to the coroner for investigation. A Hospital Authority investigation panel concluded 'this is a very rare and unexpected situation and the cause was uncertain'.

Patients' Rights Association spokesman Tim Pang Hung-cheong said the authority should determine why there had been a time lapse in public disclosure of the incident.

'In October, the authority already had the sentinel event reporting system in place. That means any serious case should have been reported to the public,' Mr Pang said.

The sentinel event policy was adopted to strengthen the reporting, management and monitoring of incidents in hospitals to prevent medical blunders and improve patient safety.

The authority also yesterday revealed there were 948 'medication incidents' in public hospitals in the first half of last year. Just two cases led to severe outcomes for patients, the authority said.

Failure to comply with procedures was the underlying cause for 36 per cent of errors in hospital cases.

The authority also advised staff to be aware of risks associated with MRI procedures. A patient suffered a cut eyebrow when scissors flew out of a nurse's pocket into the MRI where the patient was being scanned, one of the near-misses reported.