Boy, 2, given five times the dose of heart medication in second serious medical mistake in less than a week

A picture of the Prince of Wales Hospital. Via wiki commons.
A picture of the Prince of Wales Hospital. Via wiki commons.

It’s been a bad week for medical blunders.

Two serious cases of serious medical mistakes have occurred in recent days, including a doctor who gave a 2-year-old boy an overdose of heart medication and a critically-ill patient whose oxygen supply was bungled during his transfer to intensive care, according to reports.

The first case, involving the toddler, happened on Sunday at the Prince of Wales Hospital, according to HK01.

The young patient, brought to the emergency department with fever and shortness of breath, was given five times the correct amount of cardiac drug atropine by a paediatrician, an overdose which led to inflammation of his heart muscle and a viral lung infection.

The boy has been transferred to the Queen Mary Hospital while management at the Prince of Wales have apologized to the family and reported the incident to the Hospital Authority as a “serious untoward event”, reported RTHK.

It follows a case from last week, when staff from Queen Elizabeth Hospital were treating critically-ill man for acute pneumonia, according to a government statement.

The patient later developed respiratory failure. Admitted on September 27, he was incubated the following morning and connected to a mechanical ventilator to help his breathing.

His condition deteriorated further as he developed septic shock and staff decided to transfer him to the intensive care unit (ICU) about 10pm.

During the transfer, which took two minutes, doctors used a self-inflating ventilation bag to ventilate the patient manually.

It was later discovered the self-inflating ventilation bag used during the transfer was not connected to an oxygen cylinder.

Though the patient was reconnected to a mechanical ventilator at the ICU he went into cardiac arrest after five minutes. He was resuscitated but died about two days later.

The case has been referred to the coroner. The Hospital Authority will also probe the incident.

“The hospital is saddened by the patient’s passing away and expresses its deepest condolences to the family,” the statement read. “The hospital has met the patient’s family again today to explain the incident and apologise to them.”

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