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Inquiries launched as 3 patients die from ‘anaesthesia overdose’ at hospital

December 01, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Multiple inquiries have been launched by the health authorities in the federal capital to ascertain circumstances that led to deaths of at least three patients during surgery at the Federal Government Polyclinic Islamabad, who reportedly died due to overdose of an anesthetic agent, officials said on Thursday.

“A number of inquiries have been initiated to probe deaths of three patients, who reportedly died due to anesthesia overdose from a malfunctioning vaporizer. The overdose of isoflurane given to three patients, caused acute liver failure resulting in deaths of three patients while the fourth is also in critical condition,” an official of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, told The News.

This representational image shows a health care professional preparing a syringe. — Unsplash/File
This representational image shows a health care professional preparing a syringe. — Unsplash/File

Following the incident that came into the notice of polyclinic administration on November 18, 2023, all the operation theaters including the OTs for emergency, elective and gynecology surgeries were closed and patients were referred to other hospitals including Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Islamabad and Federal Government Hospital.

The health ministry official said as they were awaiting outcomes of the inquiries being conducted internally by the Polyclinic administration, Islamabad Healthcare Regulatory Authority (IHRA), Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) and the Drug Control Section of Islamabad Health Department had also launched their separate inquiries to ascertain the causes of the deaths at the health facility.

Executive Director at Polyclinic Dr. Shehzad Munir said due to use of anesthetic drug ‘Isoflurane’, liver enzymes of some patients had increased and they switched the drugs to prevent the patients from the complications, adding that deaths of the patients had nothing to do with the anesthetic agents.

“Patients who died after the surgery had no direct relation to the anesthesia drug. They had their own complications, which led to their deaths,” he said and also denied any malfunctioning of the equipment used in the operation theaters at the hospital.