Sin­ga­pore hos­pi­tal suf­fers wave of hep­ati­tis C

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

Sin­ga­pore’s largest hos­pi­tal apol­o­gized Tues­day af­ter 22 kid­ney pa­tients were in­fected with hep­ati­tis C, with four dy­ing in a rare out­break at the pres­ti­gious fa­cil­ity.

The in­fec­tions at the gov­ern­ment-run Sin­ga­pore Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal (SGH) in­volved pa­tients ad­mit­ted to one ward be­tween April and June.

Hos­pi­tal of­fi­cials said while the four fa­tal­i­ties had other se­ri­ous con­di­tions, they “are not able to rule out the pos­si­bil­ity” that hep­ati­tis C could have been a fac­tor in their deaths.

Sin­ga­pore’s health care sys­tem has been rated among the best in Asia and gov­ern­ment hos­pi­tals are well-funded.

Pa­tients from around the world fly to Sin­ga­pore for treat­ment at SGH and other hos­pi­tals.

“We would like to apol­o­gize un­re­servedly for the grief, pain and an­guish this has caused our pa­tients and their fam­i­lies,” SGH chief ex­ec­u­tive Ang Chong Lye said in a state­ment.

The Min­istry of Health ( MOH) has formed an in­de­pen­dent com­mit­tee to re­view the find­ings of an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion car­ried out by the hos­pi­tal.

The Sin­ga­pore Tourism Board says for­eign pa­tients spent SG$832 mil­lion ( US$584 mil­lion) in 2013 for treat­ment in the coun­try, which en­cour­ages “med­i­cal tourism.”

The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO) web­site says the hep­ati­tis C virus is blood­borne, and the most com­mon modes of in­fec­tion are through “un­safe in­jec­tion prac­tices, in­ad­e­quate ster­il­iza­tion of med­i­cal equip­ment and the trans­fu­sion of un­screened blood and blood prod­ucts.”

About half a mil­lion peo­ple die an­nu­ally from hep­ati­tis C-re­lated liver dis­eases, ac­cord­ing to WHO, the United Na­tions’ health watchdog.

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