83-year-old Hong Kong patient dies after tubing from blood pressure machine found wrapped around neck at hospital in suspected suicide

An 83-year-old patient has died after tubing from a blood pressure machine was found wrapped around his neck at a Hong Kong hospital in a suspected suicide.

Hong Kong Buddhist Hospital, which has reported the case to police, on Saturday evening said the elderly man was found unconscious in the early hours of the morning just 15 minutes after staff inspected his ward.

Police said they had classified the case as suicide while they continued to investigate.

“Healthcare staff removed the connection tubing and performed resuscitation immediately,” a hospital spokesman said. “The hospital also informed the patient’s family. The patient was certified dead at 2.47am.”

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A healthcare staff member had inspected the man’s ward at 1.20am, finding “the patient was asleep and no abnormalities were observed”, according to the spokesman.

But 15 minutes later, he was found unconscious and entangled in the tubing of the blood pressure machine.

Authorities said the man was admitted to a medicine and geriatrics ward of the hospital for end-stage renal failure and pneumonia on November 29, and had been in a stable condition since then.

The hospital said it was saddened by the death and expressed deep condolences to the man’s family, adding it would provide help as needed.

The case has been reported to police and the coroner for follow-up, with the hospital saying it would fully cooperate with the force’s investigation.

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The spokesman said the institution was “very concerned” about the incident and had also reported it to the Hospital Authority.

“The hospital has promptly reviewed the ward, arranged the positions of the related medical equipment and enhanced inspection, so as to avoid the reccurrence of similar incidents,” he said.

The Post has reached out to the Hospital Authority and Health Bureau for comment.

The incident follows a medical mishap at a public hospital earlier in the week, involving the death of a 79-year-old patient whose oxygen cylinder valve was found to be closed during his transfer to the intensive care unit.

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The hospital’s management, refusing to name who was responsible for the blunder, on Thursday said an investigation panel and the Coroner’s Court would look into the cause of the incident.

Caritas Medical Centre also vowed to take measures to prevent a repeat of the incident, including reminding staff about transfer procedures and the proper use of oxygen cylinders.

Responding to the case on Thursday, health minister Lo Chung-mau said the Hospital Authority would analyse all incidents and make improvements.

If you have suicidal thoughts, or you know someone who is, help is available. For Hong Kong, dial +852 2896 0000 for The Samaritans or +852 2382 0000 for Suicide Prevention Services. In the US, call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or +1 800 273 8255. For a list of other nations’ helplines, see this page.


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