CAIRO: Investigations into the death of eight cardiac patients in Mahalla have revealed so far that the medical equipment used during the open heart surgeries may have been faulty, said Sayed Essmat, a Mahalla MP told Daily News Egypt.
The quality of the equipment used may have played a role in the fatal infections suffered by the patients after their surgery, he explained. “Other operations where this equipment was not used have been successful, added Essmat, who is also a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Last week, Prosecutor General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud launched an urgent investigation into the deaths, which occurred from March 12-21 inside the Intensive Care Unit of the Cardiac Center at the Delta city of Mahalla El-Kobra.
The patients reportedly suffered severe brain hemorrhaging and renal failure after undergoing open-heart surgery at the center.
“There are many reasons that could have led to these tragic deaths. Maybe the patients were in critical condition and the operations were conducted too late, and maybe it was due to malpractice, Essmat speculated.
For now, he said, the case is still under investigation and the Ministry of Health has already convened two committees to look into the incidents.
According to a source at the Health Ministry who spoke on condition of anonymity, Minister of Health Hatem El Gabaly has convened a committee including Dr Adel El Banna, chief surgeon at the Cardiac Center, clinical pathologist Dr Azza Mansi, anesthesiologist Dr Mohamed Murad and others investigate the violations that may have caused eight deaths in nine days.
An open heart surgeon, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Daily News Egypt that it is still too early to “analyze what happened at the Cardiac Center, adding that the media should wait until the results of the investigations are out before they start placing the blame on the surgeons.
Open heart surgeries have highly varied risk rates, ranging from 4 to 98 percent, he added. These eight cases may all be on the higher end of the spectrum and the fact that the patients all died at the center at the same time could be a coincidence.
“It may be that if those eight cases were dealt with over a longer period of time, say six months, they would not have stood out as much as they do now.
Moreover, he said, the eight surgeries were conducted by five different surgeons who are all highly qualified, making it unlikely that all five made the same medical error within the same time period.
The surgeon also urged the media not to jump to conclusions and point fingers since this could ruin the reputation of possibly innocent doctors, which would intimidate other surgeons from conducting open heart surgeries on high-risk patients in the future.