The patient who was injected with expired insulin at the Tuburan District Hospital was laid to rest. It was not clear yet whether the expired insulin was indeed that cause of her death. The Provincial Health Office is seeking the help of the health department to further investigate this matter.
The doctor, Dr. Augusto Riconalla, who ordered the nurse to inject the expired insulin, however, will be out of work in December. It was after the head of the PHO asked him to resign.
The patient, Hazel Relabo Aparecio, was brought to the government hospital last November 17.
With her condition, she was prescribed an anti-diabetic medication. At that time, none was available at the hospital. But the doctor received a call that said medicine was available at a nearby pharmacy.
Although it wasn’t the doctor who injected the insulin, he was the one who instructed the nurse to inject the insulin without checking the expiration date of the medicine.
It turned out that the medicine has reached its expiration date.
Right after injecting the drug, the hospital staff was alarmed because the patient’s blood continued to rise, despite the administration of the drug.
The patient was then carried to a hospital in Cebu City.
But she died eventually.
Who is to blame?
For now, the nurse, who injected the med and, Dr. Jataporn Vatanagul, who is said to be the owner or related to the owner of the pharmacy where the medicine was obtained, are not to be held accountable for the incident.
That’s unless the court would issue a warrant for the pharmacy owner.
At the time of administration, the nurse and the doctor didn’t check the expiration date of the insulin.
As regards to the liability of the nurse, hospital nurses were advised to carry out any doctors’ orders.
And if the nurse is asked by the court to testify, she could just say that she was told to carry out the order of the doctor.
Will the family of the patient press charges?
Aparecio’s family said that they no longer want things to get complicated than it already is. For them, pursuing the case will cause the patient’s body to be autopsied. And it’s not something they want to happen.
No formal complaint
The city police can’t file charges against the hospital or the medical personnel. The reason for this is that there is no formal complaint yet.
Another malpractice incident at the Tuburan Hospital
In July 2013, a drowning victim was brought to the same hospital. And it was attended by Vatanagul. Hours later, the victim died.
More than a year ago, the same doctor attended a kid who was suffering from diarrhea but was given an anti-asthmatic drug, instead.
Now, the medical community has mixed reactions and opinions about this matter.
For others, it was the responsibility of the nurse to check the drug. If he/she is in doubt of the doctor’s order, he/she could talk to his/her superior.
If it’s proven that the expired insulin was indeed the cause of the patient’s death, both the nurse and the doctor are held accountable.
Nurses can’t just say they’re following orders. They must justify and have critical thinking.
As regards to the pharmacy where the expired insulin was obtained, it should also be held responsible as DOH mandates annual surveys of drugs.