Date
20 July 2017
Another flu patient, a 17-month-old baby girl, died in February. She was given Tamiflu 22 hours after being admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Photo: HKEJ
Another flu patient, a 17-month-old baby girl, died in February. She was given Tamiflu 22 hours after being admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Photo: HKEJ

Nighttime lab test services to be reviewed amid flu scare

Hospital Authority chief executive Dr. Leung Pak-yin said the authority will review laboratory test services for influenza after the recent death of a six-year-old boy from flu, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Monday.

Leung expressed deep condolences to the boy’s family, RTHK reported.

He said lab test services are available seven days a week in hospitals with accident and emergency departments during the current peak season for flu.

But whether the services are provided to patients during the night would depend on necessity and priority.

Leung stressed that the drug Tamiflu should be prescribed with caution and based on the assessment and condition of the patient.

The boy’s family had complained that he wasn’t given Tamiflu until it was too late.

Meanwhile Apple Daily revealed Monday that, in a similar case, another child fell victim to the influenza A virus and died from flu complicated by encephalitis on Feb. 23.

Parents of the 17-month-old baby girl, surnamed Tou, told the media their daughter had a 38C fever and other flu symptoms, such as coughing and a runny nose, on Feb. 9.

They took their daughter to Hong Kong Baptist Hospital at midnight, where the doctor diagnosed her ailment as an upper respiratory infection and then prescribed medicines for sore throat and fever.

The parents tried to have their daughter hospitalized but were told the pediatric wards of Baptist Hospital and other private hospitals were full.

The condition of the girl deteriorated in the afternoon, and the parents took her by ambulance to the emergency department of Queen Elizabeth Hospital at 2:13 p.m., where she was prescribed anticonvulsant and anti-fever drugs.

At 4 p.m., she was transferred to the pediatric ward, had a sample taken for rapid diagnostic testing for flu at 5:30 p.m. and then redirected to the pediatric intensive care unit.

Her parents slammed the delays in the prescription of Tamiflu, which was eventually given to the girl at noon Feb. 11 (22 hours after she was admitted to the hospital), and in the test results, which were made available only at 4 p.m. Feb. 11.

The girl fell into a coma owing to severe brain damage and died 14 days later.

Her father told the newspaper that, although he understood the medical staff had tried their best, the baby might have been able to survive if test results had not taken so long and Tamiflu had been given to her earlier.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital expressed deep condolences on the death of the girl.

It said the flu test result was delivered within 24 hours, fulfilling the requirement set by the Hospital Authority.

Six-year-old flu patient dies after failing to get Tamiflu (May 13, 2016)

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