Physician gets 5 yrs for wrong vaccination that killed 3 babies in central Vietnam

A physician and three other health workers at a hospital in central Vietnam have been sentenced to 3-5 years in jail for their serious shortcomings leading to the deaths of three newborns

Physician Nguyen Thi Thuan is seen at her trial in the north-central province of Quang Tri on March 27, 2015.

A Vietnamese court has given three-five year sentences to a physician and three other health workers at a hospital in central Vietnam for their mistakes in a wrong vaccination case that led to the deaths of three newborns in 2013.

The physician is Nguyen Thi Thuan, at the obstetrics department of Huong Hoa District General Hospital in Quang Tri province, who received the highest sentence, five years in jail, at a hearing opened by the provincial People’s Court on Friday.

This sentence is heavier than the jail term of three-four years previously proposed for Thuan by the local People’s Procuracy.

Meanwhile, the former deputy director of the hospital, Nguyen Van Thien, was sentenced to three years in jail, while Le Huynh Son, former head of the general planning department, received a four-year sentence, and Tran Thi Hai Van, former head of the obstetrics department, got a suspended sentence of three years.

These sentences are much heavier than the 24-30 month jail terms the prosecutor’s office had previously proposed for the three defendants.  

Thuan was charged with “accidentally causing human death due to breach of professional or administrative regulations” while the three others were indicted for “negligence of responsibility, causing serious consequences.”

The three dead babies were from three families in the district. They died soon after being vaccinated with a wrong vaccine by physician Thuan at the hospital on July 20, 2013.

According to the indictment, Thuan mistakenly used Esmeron, instead of the vaccine against hepatitis B to inject the three newborns that morning.

About thirty minutes after the injection, the mothers of the babies called Tuan after their babies turned blue and had difficulty breathing.

These babies were taken to the emergency department for treatment but they died soon after.  

Thuan examined the empty vial of the medicine she had taken from a medicine freezer for the vaccination, and found the words Esmeron on them.

Thuan also saw three vials of hepatitis B vaccine in the freezer. She took them and extracted the injection solution from them and put the empty vials into the waste basket.

She later threw the empty vials of Esmeron at the base of a tree in the back of the obstetrics department.
An investigation later revealed that Son randomly placed the Esmeron to the freezer that was used store Hepatitis B vaccines only.

Meanwhile, hospital deputy director Thien and head of obstetrics department Van were found lacking responsibility in management that contributed to the occurrence of the deadly incident.

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