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Drop did not kill newborn, says CHA Bundang hospital
  • By Park Gi-taek
  • Published 2019.04.15 15:20
  • Updated 2019.04.15 15:20
  • comments 0

A tertiary hospital in Seongnam near Seoul came under suspicion that it intentionally concealed the cause of the death of a newborn, who died hours after a physician tripped and dropped the baby.

The hospital instantly refuted that the incident was not the direct cause of death.

The front view of CHA Bungdang Medical Center in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province

The Hankyoreh, a vernacular daily newspaper in Korea, reported that one of the medical staffs of CHA Bundang Medical Center slid and dropped the baby on the floor after a cesarean section in August 2016. The baby reportedly suffered a skull fracture, but the hospital covered it up for nearly three years, the news article said.

CHA Bundang, in response, released a statement on Sunday saying that the newborn weighed only 1.13 kilograms, a third of the average weight of a newborn of 3.4 kg, born at the seventh month of pregnancy.

“It was a high-risk, ultra-premature delivery. So the resident was in such a hurry to move the baby to the neonatal intensive care unit, but the resident tripped and fell while holding the baby,” the hospital said, admitting that the baby suffered a fall.

“The baby’s status was so serious that the attending doctor concluded that complications of multiple diseases, not the fall, caused the newborn’s death,” the hospital said. The baby was in a very severe state with symptoms such as obstructive pulmonary syndrome and intravascular coagulopathy, which causes hemorrhage in the organ, due to placental abruption and meconium inhalation, CHA Bundang added.

Korea Medical Dispute Mediation and Arbitration Agency’s investigation also concluded that the fall did not cause the death directly, the hospital said.

The hospital did not notify the fall to the parents “because the attending doctor thought the baby died from multiple diseases, not from the fall when the resident holding the baby tripped.”

CHA Bungdang said it learned the details only after an investigation started, admitting that it was the hospital’s mistake not telling the parents.

As for the article’s claim that the hospital’s vice president tried to hide the incident, the hospital said it dismissed the vice president for not reporting the situation to the hospital at the time. The attending physician asked for advice from the vice president, who was also an obstetrics/gynecology specialist, but the vice president did not report it to the hospital, it added.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency on Friday filed for the arrest warrant of a pediatrician surnamed Lee and the attending ob/gyn doctor Moon on charges of falsely reporting the cause of the death as “illness” and not informing the parents of the medical staff’s drop of the baby to cover up the wrongdoings of the hospital.


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