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Help sought in infant deaths probe

LA PRENSA/Carlos García
Según las autoridades, las primeras investigaciones muestran que los infantes fueron medicados con dos tipos de heparina.

02/07/2013 - Officials with Social Security and the Ministry of Health have requested the support of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Center for Disease Control in the investigation of the deaths of infants at the neo-natal unit of the Social Security medical complex.

The entitites are also seeking the help of researchers at the Gorgas Medical Institute.

The cause of the deaths is still unknown. Offciials said the babies were all given the same medications, but they are not suspected as the cause.


Social Security Director Guillermo Sáez-Llorens reported that the entity is working with the ministry to clarify what happened, and said he regretted the deaths of the eight infants.

At the same time, Sáez-Llorens stressed that "additional cases not have occurred," and that five infants are currently being cared for in the Arnulfo Arias Madrid Hospital neo-natal unit, and none are experiencing problems.

"The hospital's neo-natal unit is, and has been, one of excellence in terms of personnel and equipment," he said.

The director further states that "all drugs that are used in that unit have proper records," except for one which came with a special permit.

Minister of Health Javier Díaz stressed that the investigation is being conducted by professional technicians.

Lizka Richards, the Social Security Director of Medical Benefits, said that the deaths took place between June 12 and 17.

Richards added that the medications used on the infants were in their correct dosages and there is no clinical evidence that heparin, an anticoagulant that was given to all eight babies who died, was the cause of death.

The official said that the facility is waiting for the official report of the public prosecutor's office, because it has only receieved preliminary ones.

Measures are being taken to control the outbreak.


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