One baby has died and another is in critical condition after an Australian hospital gave the babies laughing gas instead of oxygen.
The mistake happened because of a faulty gas line that was dispensing nitrous oxide at Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital, in Sydney, according to BBC. A doctor discovered the problem after one of the babies died unexpectedly.
New South Wales Health Minister Jillian Skinner said of the incident, “I am profoundly sorry for the families of a newborn who died and another newborn who was severely affected. I deeply regret these families have suffered through such a devastating error. NSW Health will do all it can to support them.”
But that is little comfort to Sonya Ghanem, mother of the newborn who died, reports Inquistr. She was quoted as saying, “I held my baby. They brang him to me at the hospital. I said ‘I want to see him. [I was] just looking at him ... shaking. My son ‘wake up’ I would tell him. 'Wake up, wake up. What did they do to you?'”
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Skinner says the gas lines were checked and certified by BOC Ltd, a gas company. In a statement, the company said: "We deeply regret that these families are suffering pain and sorrow."
The company is carrying out an independent investigation.
Skinner has ordered all medical gas lines at the hospital to be checked. "Mothers can feel confident that we have checked every operating theater, every [resuscitation] bay where babies are treated and there are no other examples of this, " she said.
Some in the media have criticized Skinner's handling of the incident and called for her to step down, but so far she has refused to do so.